LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Ten million additional dollars are now approved for drainage projects inside Lafayette Parish. The Lafayette City and Parish councils budgeted the money in their meetings Tuesday night.
$4,850,000 is going toward projects inside the parish. $1,750,000 for Bayou Vermilion Flood Control, $1,850,000 for the Robley Drive Detention Pond, and $1,450,000 for the Coulee Granges/Coulee Ile des Cannes Flood Control
$5,850,000 is going toward drainage for the city. $1,000,000 for Malapart Detention Pond, $1,000,000 for River Oaks Property Detention Pond, and $3,850,000 for Bayou Vermilion Spoil Bank Removal.
Monday’s intense flood event coupled with the discussion. District 3 City Councilwoman Liz Hebert stated, “We’ve received a lot of rain all at once. It just came down. Even the meteorologist today were saying they were shocked.”
During Monday’s rain event, the Lafayette Police and Fire Departments responded to 341 weather-related calls. Between 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., they answered 155 stalled vehicle calls and 39 calls for water in homes or vehicles.
“That event last night I’m being told was anywhere from a 75 to 100 year storm event, so those are very serious,” Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said.
Public Works Director Chad Nepveaux said initial readings show seven inches of rain fell in only a few hours compared to 2016’s 30 inches in over three days.
“We’re currently watching the weather and seeing to make sure what happened yesterday afternoon doesn’t happen again because obviously everything is full and to capacity in the river right now,” Nepveaux assured.
$10.7M was approved by the councils to fund three retention ponds as well as flood control along Coulee Granges, Ile des Cannes, and the Vermilion River. Nepveaux explained the vague flood control needs also mean detention ponds so that areas that are prone to flooding, heavily populated, and not developed with today’s standards have a safer place to store water.
“What we’re facing together, the city council, the parish council, the administration, the community, is a long-term problem,” Guillory concluded. “We didn’t get here overnight. We didn’t get here in the last year or two. It took decades to get here, but we’re dedicated to fixing it, and you’re going to see some easy wins.”
The largest amount, almost four million dollars, is going toward removing spoil banks on the Vermilion River. Currently, St. Martin Parish engineers are doing a study for its impact after receiving a study from Lafette engineers.