Dial Dalfred: Residents believe plans to fix drainage at busy intersection will flood their homes

Dial Dalfred

ST. MARTIN PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Plans to fix the flooding issue at the Interstate 10 at the Henderson intersection are about to start, but there’s some push back.

Residents along the proposed new drainage route say instead of water filling up the intersection, it’ll now be in their homes.

A valiant effort to fix a flooding problem at the I-10, Highway 347 underpass in St. Martin Parish, has some residents worried the drainage problem is only being shifted.

“My concern is they’re going to make it come so fast, when it bottlenecks we’re going to get more water than we normally get,” Joann Thornton, who lives in the area, says.

The project begins at the corner of 347 and 352, this blue area represents a proposed drainage culvert. It continues down 352, or the Henderson Highway, along this yellow line is the existing canal which will be cleaned to increase water flow.

(DOTD)

But it stops about a mile east of its starting point, and people living along the Henderson Highway say that’s the problem.

“They need to expand the ditch, the culverts, everything down this direction all the way to where it’s supposed to drain,” Thornton said.

Jackie Serrette lives just across the street from Thornton. He said his home has flooded in the past and he believes without proper upkeep of the new project, he’ll once again be a victim to rising water.

“Unless the canal is cleaned out all the down from here toward Henderson which empties into Bayou Amy, were going to flood again,” Serrette said.

We reached out to Michael DeSelle, District Engineering Administrator, DOTD. Over the phone he told us, “We have hydraulic engineers to do studies to make sure we have the right size pipes, ditches, catch basins, box culverts, whatever the drainage structure is. So in this case, we did do the hydraulic study on the system to ensure that the outfall where the water is eventually being channeled to will handle the anticipated storm drainage.”

DOTD officials say there has been flooding is this area over the past 40 to 50 years; and this new project should help alleviate rising water for residents along 352 like Jo and Jackie who have dealt with flooding in the past.

“This drainage project is not going to worsen any of the conditions that they may have currently, even before this construction project, near their homes in terms of flooding,” Deidra Druilhet, DOTD Public Information Officer said. “It’s actually going to improve the situation.”

The drainage project won’t begin until the widening of Interstate 10 from Henderson to the Basin Bridge is completed. Once it’s done, we’ll have to wait until the next big storm for it to be put to the test.

If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community or there’s a story you’d like me to investigate, send me an email at DialDalfred@klfy.com.

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