Move on to certify backwater levees

FRANKLIN, La. — Engineering services aimed at getting Morgan City’s backwater levees certified for flood protection and then approved as an accredited levee system are being considered by the St. Mary Parish Levee District commission.

The levee district has been working with consultants to develop a proposal to provide engineering services for certification of the Morgan City backwater levees, St. Mary Parish Levee District Executive Director Tim Matte said.

The levee district is serving in a project manager role for St. Mary Parish Drainage District 2 because the district does not have any staff, Matte said. “We’ve entered into an agreement with the drainage district for us to manage this levee project for them,” Matte said.

At Thursday’s levee district meeting in Franklin, Matte asked that action not be taken on a contract to get engineering firm T. Baker Smith to do design and engineering work on the Morgan City backwater levees because the contract is still being reviewed by levee district attorney Bill Bourgeois. The commission deferred any action on engaging T. Baker Smith on the Morgan City levee project.

The proposed contract for engineering and design work would cover slightly more than four miles and would start at the southwest corner of Lakeside Subdivision in Morgan City, elevating that levee alignment following the existing levee alignment westward around the Hellenic property along Lake Palourde back to the La. 70 canal across La. 70 and down the Cypress Gardens levee, T. Baker Smith engineer Jason Kennedy said.

“The idea is that we’ll elevate the existing levee alignments. We’ll haul in bar material, and we’re going to expand the footprint to the flood side of the levee. The essential function of what we’re doing is to get a certified flood protection alignment that we can submit to FEMA as an accredited levee system,” Kennedy said. This type of engineering work has not been done beyond the realm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kennedy said.

Levee District Commission President Bill Hidalgo said the levee district commission might hold a special meeting when legal review is completed so design work could begin on the project.

The total proposed contract amount for engineering services is about $1.1 million.

T. Baker Smith put together a contract for engineering services for the Morgan City Backwater Levees, Kennedy said. Reid Miller of Miller Engineers has a contract with the parish for the Community Block Development Grant portion of the work, Kennedy said.

There is also bond issue money and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority funding to be spent on other portions of the levee alignment in Morgan City, Kennedy said.

Eustis Engineering Services LLC is also listed in the proposed contract to do geotechnical work for the project, Kennedy said. “They’re very experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to the standards of which they have to follow for FEMA certification,” Kennedy said.

For the Bayou Chene Flood Protection project, surveying for modeling for the project has begun, Jeff Peña of CB&I said. The modeling is expected to be complete by the end of October, Peña said. “Hopefully, for the meeting in November, we’ll have some results for y’all,” Peña said.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries submitted a comment that it would like to see a hydrologic model done, which is being done right now, Peña said.

The levee district is partnering with the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District for the project, which has committed to fund $500,000 of the project, Matte said.

For the Franklin Canal Flood Control project, the barge for the project is scheduled to arrive at the site Aug. 19, Peña said. However, the barge could be installed earlier if a storm is coming and protection is needed sooner, he said.

The commission approved the levee district to make up the deficit for the Franklin Canal pump station project budget while seeking partners in the agreement to identify possible funding sources.

Peña submitted the 95 percent plans to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of a preliminary cost estimate for the Franklin Canal pump station, he said. They originally submitted a base bid of $1.7 million for two pumps at the pump station. Adding a third pump and a fourth pump would cost an extra $300,000 each, Peña said.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority does not have the funding right now to complete the pump station, Peña said. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has about $1 million available to go toward building the pump station, he said.

Funding sources must be identified before going out for bid on project services, Matte said. The project will not go to bid until probably October, Matte said.

In other business, the commission

—Authorized Hidalgo to sign an SJB proposal of about $6,330 to do design work on the Franklin Canal Pump Station gas line design to tie in to the gas line, which serves the pump station that one of the drainage district operates, Matte said.

—Authorized the St. Mary Parish Drainage District 1 request for about 3,800 square feet of sheet pile.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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