$128 million in new funds, agreement to move relocate pipeline, marks progress in Comite River Diversion Canal
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A project aimed at keeping thousands across East Baton Rouge, Ascension, and Livingston Parishes dry received a boost Wednesday.
According to DOTD, it reached an agreement to relocate a Florida Gas pipeline that runs across the path of the Comite River Diversion Canal near LA 964. The pipeline is one of seven that has delayed the completion of the canal.
In a statement released by DOTD, a spokesman told WAFB negotiations “have been more difficult than anyone expected or desired.” The statement also said, “the department believes we have the framework for future agreements to relocate other portions of the pipeline that must be moved to complete the diversion project.”
“The schedule for this project slipped 50% or an entire year,” said Rep. Garrett Graves. “I expect it to slip even further because of this pipeline issue.”
Weather and pipeline negotiations forced the Army Corps of Engineers to delay the project last year to the end of 2022.
Rene Poche, a representative with the Corps, said unless there is any further delays in the pipeline relocation the canal should be finished on time, by the end of the year.
“We haven’t seen anything yet to indicate that it wouldn’t be done by the end of 2022,” Poche said.
In addition to the pipeline, state leaders announced Wednesday an additional $128 million was being dedicated to completing the project. Graves said the funding will not be a reason the project is delayed further.
“Pretty sure that thousands of Louisianans are going to join me with their own damn shovels out there finishing this project if we run into another hurdle,” Graves said.
When the project is completed, DOTD expects the Comite Diversion Canal to provide flood relief to EBR, Ascension, and Livingston Parishes.
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