HENDERSON, La. (KLFY) – The section of LA 347 under the Henderson-Cecilia exit off Interstate 10 flooded two weeks ago, which made it difficult for cars and trucks to get through.
A week before that, the DOTD had to close the road down for about 17 hours because there was more than a foot of water on the road.
The DOTD opened two new roundabouts at the exit about two months ago. The roundabouts don’t flood because they were built higher than the rest of the road.
“What’s happening on the two sides north and south it’s much higher. Well where it’s lower of course the water is just going to drain into the low spot,” explained Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette.
Jennifer Casanova, owner of Louisiana Marketshops at the 115, said the last two heavy rains have hurt her business.
“The flooding has never been like this before,” she said. “It seems as though they’ve built the road lower than the old road and we’re getting a lot more flooding than we ever had before. Been here six years and I’ve never seen it like that before.”
Because of the flooding and the complaints that it’s generated, design engineers went back to Henderson last week to do some more research and try to determine why the road flooded.
Reporter: “Do you think the engineers were surprised when we had all that flooding?”
“They were, the design engineers were. They were a little surprised. They did not anticipate that,” said DOTD District Administrator Bill Oliver.
Oliver said the actual sea level elevation was about two feet higher than what the engineers put into their computer models.
They discovered a channel had backed up and flooded under the bridge.
A pipe that crosses under one of the ramps had some filter cloth stuck in it.
The channel also backed up on LA 352 near the McDonald’s restaurant. The DOTD was already planning to replace two box culverts there.
Engineers will also look to see if some of the existing catch basins on LA 347 need to be cleaned out or replaced.
“I can’t promise there won’t be flooding because there was flooding already. I can promise we’re going to try and improve it and not make it any worse than it was before,” Oliver said.
The work will be done throughout the year. DOTD representatives will address the flooding with Henderson business owners Wednesday night at Crawfish Town at 6 p.m.