High waters of Mississippi River halting projects in downtown Baton Rouge

High waters of Mississippi River halting projects in downtown Baton Rouge
Water levels remain extremely high for the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge (Mar. 18, 2019 )

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After the recent announcement of the reopening of the Morganza Spillway, the Capital City might already be feeling the invisible effects of the high water levels.

As Louisiana farmers prepare to move their livestock and equipment to evade flooding, the high water levels have put several projects in downtown Baton Rouge on hold. These delays coincide with the level of the Mississippi River being at or above flood level, which began in September 2018.

May 20th marked 136 consecutive days with the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge at or above flood stage, a new record.

Although it’s still too early to tell, the city might see extra costs from the project expected to bring a bike path along the levee, according to the city’s transportation and drainage director Fred Raiford. Other downtown construction has been halted as early as November 2018. That’s when work stopped for the Water Campus along River Road.

Renovations for the visitor information center have been postponed since December 2018. The latest delay involves concrete work for AT&T cell towers to expand 5G coverage, which paused in March.

Raiford said the delays are a way for his department to “err on the side caution” in order to limit construction activity along the levee. He said the East Baton Rouge Levee District would be the authority to update whether the water level is low enough to start up construction.

While it might take two to three months to happen, Raiford plans to meet with contractors before projects get the official green light.

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