BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC Local 33) (FOX 44) — Governor John Bel Edwards announced that five major drainage projects for East Baton Rouge city-parish are one step closer to fruition today.
Edwards was joined by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome at BREC’s Highland Road Community Park for a morning press conference.
Edwards publicly thanked Graves, who has been working with partners including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to secure funds at the federal level. Graves received approval for $3 billion in flood and hurricane protection projects for Louisiana in July 2018. More than half a billion of the money will be allocated to complete the Comite Diversion Canal project.
Edwards said the the state will match $40 million in funds needed to jump-start the project and purchase land around the waterways.
Broome said the state will share evenly the cost with the parish of an approximate $25 million in an additional local match that will be financed over several years.
The city of Central, LA will also contribute $4 million.
The project will widen and upgrade 66 miles of waterways throughout East Baton Rouge Parish. It involves Bayou Fountain, Beaver Bayou, Blackwater Bayou, Jones Creek, and Ward’s Creek.
The long-awaited East Baton Rouge Parish Flood Risk Reduction Project is projected to cost $255 million however, the project was stalled for nearly 30 years until initial funds could be secured by leaders of Baton Rouge city-parish.
An early start date for the project was quoted as January 2020, according to a spokesperson with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office meanwhile projects a date of 30-60 days later.