Obama signs River Parishes levee help into law

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

LAPLACE — River Parishes flood protection received a presidential boost this week.

St. John the Baptist Parish Government announced Monday that President Barack Obama officially signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act into law.

“Today is an exciting day for the residents of St. John Parish and our neighboring parishes,” St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom said.

“Hurricane Isaac exposed the vulnerabilities of the River Parishes and the need for levee protection. West Shore is the parishes’ No. 1 priority, and we will not stop until this project is constructed.”

Previously known as the Water Resources Development Act, the recently signed legislations includes the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hur-ricane Risk Reduction Project levee St. John the Baptist, St. Charles and St. James parishes.

To reduce the risk of flooding associated with storm surge in St. John Parish, Robottom said the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain project is comprised of earthen levees, floodwalls and pump stations around Montz, LaPlace, Reserve and Garyville.

“This project was stalled for more than 40 years, but following Hurricane Isaac, local leadership and state and federal officials brought the project back to the forefront,” a release from St. John said. “Since 2012, Robottom and other local leaders have spent countless hours advocating to move this project forward.”

With a total cost of more than $700 million, St. John Parish is responsible for a cost-share of approximately $50 million with an estimated $5 million in annual operations and maintenance costs, according to St. John officials.