Belle Chasse Hwy. gate raises Jesuit Bend flood riskMay 11th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: news
Eastern Tie-in nears June 1 deadline
The Army Corps of Engineers’ Eastern Tie-in project, which is part of the overall Westbank Vicinity Project (WBV), will cut across Belle Chasse Highway (Hwy 23) to connect the Corps’ updated system with the existing Mississippi River Levee.
Problem is, where the flood-wall’s swing gates cut across Highway 23, leaves the people in Jesuit Bend on the wrong side of the flood-wall.
This cutoff will leave the properties in Jesuit Bend open to the storm surges. On top of that, the concerned residents of Jesuit Bend will have an increased flood risk because of the Army Corps of Engineers new gate.
Senator Mary Landrieu’s and Senator David Vitter’s respective offices drafted a letter to the Corps addressing residents’ concerns.
“Both of our offices have been approached by residents living outside the WBV footprint with concerns that the proposed action would increase the threat of flooding during a storm event,” the letter said.
This increased threat is confirmed by the Corps’ own documents.
In a document, summarizing data culled from the public meetings with Plaquemines’ residents all asking about the increased threat of flooding to areas outside the WBV’s “footprint,” the Army Corps of Engineers stated:
“Analyses indicate the WBV project may slightly increase the 1 percent annual chance-of-occurrence storm surge levels south of Oakville by amounts of up to a few tenths of a foot,” was the Corps official response.
However, the project would not be altered to accommodate those residents. Jesuit Bend and the other areas that were sectioned from the flood protection plan were defeated by the June 1 deadline of 100-year flood protection. The Army Corps of Engineers’ documentation states simply that the project was too critical to cause any delays.
“The decision has been made to get the Eastern Tie-In built by the June 2011 deadline. This project is absolutely critical to the entire West Bank. Delaying this project any longer places hundreds of thousands of people at risk,” said New Orleans District Cmdr., Col. Alvin Lee, in the Corps documents.
In the meantime, the Corps will focus on the overall completion of all necessary structures by June 1, and the continued work solidifying the system until it is at completion in fall 2011.
The swing gate going across Hwy 23 is part WBV 9c. The project is 49 percent complete according to the April fact sheet for the Eastern Tie-in project.