Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux outlined the consolidated government’s plan to improve drainage throughout the parish with dozens of public works projects, some of which could be underway by the end of the year.

Robideaux and Director of Public Works Mark Dubroc unveiled a list of 77 projects they said local government would be tackling in the near future, explaining which had priority and why.

“A lot of people have been working on this for a long time,” Robideaux said. “After the August 2016 flood, the issue was there were a lot of things I had to look at. I had to look at what’s been done, what needs to be done and what we can afford to do.”

The drainage projects cover more than 100 miles of channels and coulees that will be repaired, cleaned and dug out over a period of years at an estimated total cost of $31.79 million according to Dubroc. The projects are divided into three groups based on criteria such as the number of addresses that will be affected, the number of FEMA claims, the cost per address, complexity, permitting and repetitive loss.

“The first process was to identify the coulees that needed attention, that’s where we came up with the 77 channels,” Dubroc said. “We needed to rate them so we can prioritize them in as fair and unbiased a process as possible, so we developed this system to rate them.”

Some of the 27 projects in the top priority group involve the Isaac Verot Coulee, the Anselm Coulee, Coulee Mine East and the Acorn Drive Coulee. Robideaux said they hope to have all of them at least underway, if not completed, by the end of the year. The projects have an estimated cost of around $9.67 million.

The city-parish government has posted the list of 77 projects online for the public to view at:  http://www.lafayettela.gov/Presidents/Pages/2018-Drainage-Plan.aspx.

Robideaux and Dubroch said the current list is fluid and if a project in the top priority group becomes mired with problems, that could be moved down to a lower group while others can be moved up.

He also said they might look to local financial institutions or the bond markets to get a loan for a portion of the estimated $20 million the parish will be receiving over the next eight years thanks to the millage passed in November. This will allow these projects to get off the ground sooner.

Finally, Robideaux said the city-parish government is going to be taking a page out of Topeka, Kansas’ book and will be creating an online dashboard so the public can keep track of the progress on public works projects. Robideaux said the dashboard would be online in the coming months, hopefully before the end of spring.

“This is the kind of tool that the public is expecting from us. I think ultimately it will be appreciated by the public… We want this up and running so the public can monitor the progress as we go forward,” Robideaux said.

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