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St. John pours plans into flood protection

By Monique Roth
L’Observateur

LAPLACE — Thousands of St. John the Baptist Parish residents will be protected as increased flood protection in several forms got the green light from the St. John the Baptist Parish Finance Committee this month.

Seven drainage projects, totaling over $1 million, were approved after Parish President Natalie Robottom requested and received authorization to move forward with multiple engineering contracts targeting parish-wide drainage improvements.

“With assistance from 2014 bond monies, we remain committed to protecting all of our residents from heavy flood events and will continue allocating funding for additional projects in the future,” Robottom said, adding the contracts will be largely funded with over $13 million of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds.

She said the parish’s 25 percent cost share is included in the 2014-15 bond issue.

Infinity Engineering Consultants was awarded a $134,270 engineering contract for the design of a submersible pump in Belle Pointe Subdivision to assist with flooding.

Administration said these specific pumps are designed with the capability to be submerged directly into water without interruption of functionality, and the estimated construction cost is $1,301,827 for installation.

A $41,736 design contract with Evans-Graves Engineering for an estimated $404,514 construction upgrade to existing pumps on Airport Road in Reserve was also approved. Public Works Director Brian Nunes said the existing pumps are approximately 25 years old, and the work would focus on replacing components to get the pumps back to full capacity.

The Committee approved a $315,782 design contract with Evans-Graves Engineering in connection with an estimated $4 million project to install bar screens and automatic bar screen cleaners at the Airport Road and Homewood pump stations in Reserve. Nunes said the screeners help remove debris at the pump intakes.

CDM Smith Engineering was awarded a $105,689 contract for Marigold Street drainage improvements in Mt. Airy.

Administration said improvements, estimated to cost just north of $1 million, include relocation and redesign of culverts, ditches and canals to help alleviate standing water and flooding.

The Committee granted similar approval to execute a $145,132 contract with GEC Engineering for plans to upgrade culverts and drainage canals in LaPlace near McReine Road. The improvements, estimated to cost just shy of $1.3 million, include subsurface drainage.

The Committee approved a $92,409 contract with Burk-Kleinpeter Inc. for engineering services associated with the River Forest canal extension project, which includes reconstruction and extension of the aged canal to better handle flood water and to ensure more adequate water flow.

The approved design extends the River Forest canal to the current Prescott Canal in St. Charles Parish in an effort to relieve the overloaded system.

A $190,161 design contract for the elevation of electrical components at Ruddock stations 1 and 3, pending final FEMA approval, was granted to C.J. Savoie Consultants and Engineers.

The project is estimated to cost nearly $2.1 million for the design of elevated electrical components and flood protection measures for two existing water pumping facilities at the Ruddock System.

Parish Public Information Officer Baileigh Rebowe said Tuesday the parish had received the final FEMA approval for phase one of the project since the meeting.