More money dedicated for drainage

The amount of money set aside to improve drainage in Lake Charles has nearly doubled in the last two years, as officials strive to be more proactive, rather than simply responding to reported problems.

Dedicated funding went from $2.95 million in the 2017 fiscal year to $5.27 million in the 2018 fiscal year, Mayor Nic Hunter said Tuesday. The increase largely came from the city getting more sales tax revenue and some additional gambling revenue. The current fiscal year has $5.7 million budgeted for those improvements, he said.

“This administration has been very adamant that drainage is a priority,” Hunter said. “A lot of the stuff that we’re spending money on is underground, so sometimes people just don’t see it.”

Mike Huber, city director of planning and engineering, said the public works department has cleaned more than 74,000 feet of roadside ditches.

The amount of underground piping cleaned went from 8,742 feet in 2017 to 48,000 feet last year. Huber said 324 cubic yards of sediment were removed last year, impacting 8 percent of the city, or 3.52 square miles.

Older areas of the city with the dirtiest underground lines are getting the most attention, Hunter said. Prior to cleaning, the Baton Rouge-based Atakapa Services used 3D closed-circuit television to inspect underground pipelines. He said Enterprise Boulevard was identified as a “hot spot” for repeated flooding in the city.

“Some of the lines that we’re looking at are 75-80 years old, and we don’t believe they’ve been cleaned in many years,” he said.

The work ranges from routine cleaning of sediment from a pipe, to excavating and replacing completely collapsed pipes, Huber said.

The city’s inspection of drainage systems has grown, along with identifying and scheduling maintenance projects. Hunter said the city also continues to work with other agencies, like the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and gravity drainage districts, in protecting homes and businesses from flooding.

“Water truly doesn’t know political boundaries,” he said.

Huber said the city hired Fenstermaker and Associates last year to review all roadside ditches and eventually create a database to prioritize future projects. Drawings have also been updated as lines are monitored.

Hunter said a homeowner on Guinn Street in North Lake Charles had reported flooding four times in the last two years. Since an improvement project was finished there last year, he said there have been no reports of flooding.

“Not only are we spending money, but we’re seeing success,” he said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but it is going to continue to improve the city.”

Huber asked residents who live near ongoing improvement projects to be patient.

“There will be some inconvenience to the public,” he said.””

Crews use a camera to find obstructions in drainage pipes at the corner of Moss Street and Broad Street in Lake Charles, La., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman””

Crews use a camera to find obstructions in drainage pipes at the corner of Moss Street and Broad Street in Lake Charles, La., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman””

In this file photo, crews use a camera to find obstructions in drainage pipes at the corner of Moss Street and Broad Street in Lake Charles, La., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Finally, a feel-good movie

Business News

$21M rice mill should be complete by next harvest

Crime

Three more linked to Oakdale bar shooting

Local News

State confirms seventh pediatric death from COVID-19 in fourth surge

Local Business News

Jeff Davis hoping to join program designed to attract business

Local Business News

EMS Academy looking for ‘right people in right spots’

Local Business News

Four state amendments await voters Nov. 13

Local Business News

George Swift column: Recovery, rebuilding after storms

Local Business News

Names in the News: People making a difference in the Lake Area

Local News

Breaux has honed some serious culinary skills since his Crock-pot days

Local News

Cemetery Association asking for help with hurricane-damaged graves

Crime Brief

Fort Polk soldiers charged in DeRidder drive-by shooting

Crime Brief

Lake Arthur man loses hunting privileges

Local News

Higgins says he will vote against raising debt limit

Local News

Field of education plays major role in Broussard household

Local News

Driver, passenger killed in collision with 18-wheeler

Local News

Colo. man struck, killed in Calcasieu

Local News

The Last Island Hurricane of 1856: Killer storm wiped out a pre-Civil War resort island

Local News

Volunteer of Week: Stanford dedicates life to city

Local News

Slow rebuild: Local officials say recovery still a ways off

Local News

Pair has passion for civic engagement

Local News

Nonprofit director to retire: Hickman has worked for BArc for 39 years

Local News

Christian Youth Theater opens season with ‘Adam’s Family’

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Let health experts call shots