Grand Isle still waiting for levee repairs

GRAND ISLE (AP) — Three months after Hurricane Isaac, Grand Isle is still waiting for repairs to the island’s levee system.

But Grand Isle Mayor David Carmadelle tells The Courier he’s been told by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the repairs won’t begin until June when tourists typically flock to the island to enjoy the beach.

Carmadelle said he plans to meet with New Orleans corps Col. Edward Fleming in hopes of getting the repair work started before the next hurricane season begins.

“We have all winter to prepare for the summer,” Carmadelle said. “We’d have construction going on when the tourists are coming down to enjoy our beach.”

Isaac pounded ashore in Louisiana in late August, making a direct hit on Grand Isle and neighboring Fourchon Beach. The storm pounded the island with surge and waves for nearly a full day, eroding away Grand Isle’s already damaged “burrito levee” system. The burrito levee features a geotextile core filled with sand to help strengthen the levee against erosion.

But Carmadelle said the levee was already damaged before Isaac. The fabric core of the levee burst, allowing most of the levee to be washed away by the surge. About a mile of the levee was taken out on the island’s western side, near Caminada Pass, Carmadelle said.

Before Isaac, the corps had planned to come in and repair the levee this month, Carmadelle said.

Corps spokeswoman Rachel Rodi said the corps performed a damage assessment on the levee in September.

It is developing a project report to address those levee damages. That report is scheduled to be completed in January.

The project will likely cost between $8 million and $10 million. The corps hopes to bid out construction on the project in April, Rodi said.

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