Franklin Canal flood control project may be started in June

St. Mary Parish Levee District President Bill Hidalgo and Hillary Thibodeaux, executive director, told the Franklin City Council that the district is committed to finishing local flood control projects as efficiently and timely as possible.

Thibodaux said when “we go around the parish and see sandbags and persons concerned about flooding it really drives our goals and objectives.”

The Franklin Canal flood control design has been completed and construction may start in early June, Thibodeaux said.

Land rights have been an issue, he said, with complicated grant requirements for obtaining the rights-of-way to construct flood control measures.

“If we do not do everything as necessary or you make a mistake they can cry foul and possible jeopardize that particular grant,” Thibodeaux said. “We’ve been going through the process. We received word this morning that we’ve crossed one of the most major hurdles there is. The offer letters have been submitted to three landowners, and they are reviewing those. If they concur, we get an agreement and we move on with the project. If they don’t the levee district has expropriation power… we are ready by next meeting, if they don’t concur, to do that. We hope we can go through without having to do that.”

The contract for construction of the permanent control structure in the Franklin Canal is 450 days, Thibodeaux said. “That puts you at about October 2013 total completion,” he said. “You have advance measure protection in place to provide protection” in the meantime.

Thibodeaux said the sheet pile structure on the Hanson Canal remains closed. “It would be very costly to remove and replace, so we decided to leave them in place and wait for the permanent structure,” he said.

Yellow Bayou’s temporary control structure will also remain in place until a permanent structure can be constructed, he said.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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