Berwick looking to keep traffic off flooded streets
BERWICK, La. — The Town of Berwick continues to try to address flooding issues for its residents at its town meeting tonight with the introduction of an ordinance designed to keep traffic off flooded streets.
A pre-dawn deluge last month dropped about 6 inches of rain in less than two hours, according to some reports. This led to flooding in areas that have never flooded before in Berwick and Bayou Vista and other areas on the eastern end of the parish.
Some motorists exacerbated matters by driving through flooded streets where the water was already lapping close to residential doorways. Several Bayou Vista residents complained dirty flood waters splashed into their homes from the wake thrown by those motorists; soaking and ruining carpeting and possessions. It came close to that situation in Berwick, according to Mayor Louis Ratcliff.
“We had several residents complain of vehicles driving at a high rate of speed down flooded streets,” Ratcliff said. “No one said they got water in their homes because of that but there was the potential and we want to address that possibility before it happens.”
Ratcliff said the ordinance will be similar to the one employed in Morgan City and will give Berwick police the authority to issue citations if people ignore barricades placed on streets.
Vehicles can contribute to a 4- to 6-inch increase in water heights on flooded streets, according to town councilman Duval Arthur Jr.
“We don’t want cars becoming boats and going across flooded streets creating wakes,” Arthur said. “This can put water into people’s homes when it floods.”
If the council votes to introduce the ordinance, there will be a public meeting before the start of the Aug. 13 council meeting. This will allow citizens an opportunity to speak up for or against the proposed ordinance, Ratcliff said.
The council agenda also calls for the discussion of granting rights-of-way on city streets to Detel Wireless to install underground fiber optics for the St. Mary Parish School Board to the three public schools in Berwick.
The meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. today at the Town of Berwick City Hall, 3225 Third St.