LAPLACE, LA — A surge of floodwater detained even the most agile rescue crew from entering LaPlace during Hurricane Isaac. Working off the knowledge this is a problem that will repeat itself in the future, the Louisiana Department of Transportation has set a plan in motion.
“A project to raise the elevation on I-10 near LaPlace is scheduled to begin this summer, with a September completion date,” a press release notes. “The work will eliminate a low point in the roadway and add approximately 15 inches of asphalt to the existing roadway. Additionally, a project to raise the grade of the I-10 ramps at the LA 3188 (Belle Terre) Interchange to prevent flooding is scheduled to be let to construction in 2015.”
It will cost roughly $2.8 million to complete, but it’s a project that could save lives.
On Friday, August 31, 2012, our David Lippman traveled with the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion into LaPlace. The rescue mission that should have taken a few hours ended up being an overnight endeavor.
“Due to flooded streets and off-ramps, the drive from Plaquemine to LaPlace took nearly seven hours,” Lippman said in his report.
"The problem was getting to the people that needed to be helped," Lt. Col. Henry Capello said in the original report. "Different rerouting; moving around; going around different places where we didn't know what kind of situations we'd encounter; fording high water sites, and then finding out that some of them couldn't be forded, even with our high water vehicles that we have in the military."
Under DOTD’s plan, that problem and additional flooding-related issues could be fixed within the next year.
“DOTD is conducting a hydrologic and hydraulic study of water flow and movement for the I-10 corridor between the Reserve Relief Canal Bridge and U.S. 51 that will include the interchange at U.S. 51 and the connection to the I-55 ramps. The study will identify options for current storm conditions as well as potential elevating alternatives and an elevated bridge section alternative for a 50-year and 100-year storm event.”
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.