A total of $15.4 million in grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will help St. Charles Parish upgrade and improve drainage infrastructure in Boutte, New Sarpy, Norco, St. Rose, Luling and Bayou Gauche.
The needed projects were well suited to the hazard mitigation grants’ purpose, which is to prevent potential flood damage for area residents and businesses.
Projects and amount awarded are:
- Eighty Arpent Pump Station Auto Bar Screen Cleaner (Boutte) - $4,000,900
- New Sarpy Pump Station Auto Bar Screen Cleaner (New Sarpy) - $1,640,000
- Engineer’s Canal Pump Station Auto Bar Screen Cleaner (Norco) - $1,897,934
- Dianne Pump Station Auto Bar Screen Cleaner (St. Rose) - $603,900
(These projects will install automatic bar screen cleaners on the above pumping stations to prevent stormwater-related debris from clogging the pump’s intake. This helps protect Public Works crews during rain events and prevents pumps from cycling on and off.)
- Eighty Arpent Pump Station Capacity Increase (Boutte) - $2,967,030
(This project will increase the capacity of the Eighty Arpent Pump Station from 101,000 gallons per minute to 444,000 gallons per minute. The upgrade is needed due to increased flow from new subdivisions developed between River Road and Highway 90. Work on this project should go to bid before the end of 2010.)
- Ormond Boulevard Canal Road Crossing Improvements (Destrehan) - $2,187,211
(This project will replace an existing 60-inch culvert under Ormond Boulevard near Airline with a 28-inch span by 6.5-foot rise concrete arch culvert. This will allow increased flow for the drainage of homes on the western side of the boulevard. Work on this project should go to bid before the end of 2010.)
- Willowdale Box Culvert Improvements (Luling) - $549,275
(This project will replace the existing 36-inch concrete culvert on Willowdale Boulevard near Cottage Drive and 40-inch culvert on Beaupre Drive near Cottage Drive with appropriately sized culverts to prevent flooding in surrounding neighborhoods.)
- No. 10 Canal Road Crossing Culvert Improvements (Bayou Gauche) - $1,600,000
(This project will replace culverts located at the intersections of No. 10 Canal and Matherne Drive, Pleasant Valley Drive, Dixie Drive, Bayou Estates, Bayou Estates South and Pine Streets with appropriately sized box culverts to prevent flooding in the surrounding subdivision.)
The applications were a result of a $74 million statewide competitive projects allocation announced in May 2008 by the Louisiana Recovery Authority.
Overall, the parish decided to take an aggressive approach to the process by submitting 21 grant applications for almost $26 million in critical-need infrastructure.
“We were faced with having to fund multiple projects with a limited supply of funding,” Fonseca said. “The effort required many long hours over a six-week period and an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach by parish staff.”
Departments involved included the Grants Office, Public Works, Waterworks, Emergency Preparedness and others.
The applications were submitted to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for evaluation and ranking. Following GOHSEP’s selection process, the parish was notified in April 2009 that applications for 11 projects were selected to be reviewed by FEMA.
The parish in late 2009 was awarded $1.4 million for Luling’s Lakewood Pump Station Automatic Bar Screen Cleaners, the elevation of 16 repetitive loss homes at a cost of $3 million and the installation of hurricane shutters on the East and West Bank Waterworks Offices at a cost of $25,372.
During the continued FEMA review of the remaining eight project applications, the parish opted to condense their applications into two to increase the chances of them all being funding.
“We’re excited to get started on these much-needed projects, and I’d like to publicly thank all who worked on this for their tenacity over a two-year period,” Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said. “Our success is a direct result of a significant amount of teamwork amongst parish employees.”
The grant awards are also welcome news for Public Works Director Sam Scholle, whose engineers have worked diligently on getting many of the projects ready to go out to bid.
The grants also offer his department more flexibility, he said.
“The benefit of having these projects’ construction costs fully funded is that Public Works can now use drainage fund revenue to address other drainage projects in the parish,” he said. “The more funding we have, the more we can accomplish.”
St. Pierre added that the grants would also have a positive effect on the local economy.
“This will, in effect, infuse millions of dollars into our local St. Charles Parish economy and produce work for local companies and vendors,” he said.
The mission of St. Charles Parish government is to provide high quality, efficient services to sustain and enhance the quality of life for all residents of St. Charles Parish.Culvert Project – A $15. 4 million FEMA grant will help fund the construction of culverts similar to this under Ormond Boulevard, replacing the current aging culvert and helping ease drainage concerns in the area.