Officials join to sign regional drainage agreement

Darian Graivshark
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks addresses the media.

In the battle against flooding problems, a solution has been put in place.

On January 25, Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa, Congressman Garret Graves, Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks, and Pontchartrain Levee District President Ricky Bosco met at the Ascension Parish Government Complex to sign a regional drainage agreement.

The regional drainage agreement brings all parishes together, to regionally work together, on mitigating flood projects and creating communication. The need for an agreement has hit the critical time frame, but officials have been working the last one-and-a-half years to create an agreement that would be beneficial for all areas.

"We understand the sensitivity of these projects when we talk about moving water from one place to another," U.S. Rep. Graves said. "People don't want water moved onto them to keep water away from someone else."

"About 138,000 people are saying that they don't want the water put on them, and we aren't planning to do that," Ricks said. "Right now, we are focused on clearing out the drains and improving the flow of water."

As of right now, design work has started on the Laurel Ridge Levee extension and work on the Comite and Amite River areas as well.

"We have hydrology and hydraulics analysts that are looking to see how drainage into the Comite and Amite rivers affects water levels," Graves said. "If the drainage adversely affects people in the area, then we will have to make changes again. All of these officials, however, are making sure they're working for the common good of its citizens."

The Laurel Ridge Levee extension will cost about $24 million dollars, and is set to help drainage improvements while protecting residents from any additional flood risks.

Officials signed the agreement at the end of the presentation of the plan, which is set to really take motion around the start of March.

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