When will the area around Siegen Lane and Interstate 10 be cleaned of litter? I moved to this area two years ago, and it has remained littered and looks terrible.

Brendan Rush, a DOTD spokesman, says litter is, unfortunately, a constant problem in Louisiana.

"The Department of Transportation and Development and the East Baton Rouge Department of Public Works removes litter from the interstate and other roads each month," he says.

"The real problem is that shortly after we remove litter, it is replaced by more.

"DOTD removes over 50,000 cubic yards of litter and debris each year from the roadways, and we are not alone in this endeavor. Our Adopt-A-Road program works with local community groups to remove litter, as well as groups like Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Department of Environmental Quality and still other volunteers and organizations help out.

"The real problem is that people do not take care of litter and debris and do not dispose of it in a proper manner. That said, we will continue to do our monthly passes and challenge the community to join us in not littering and taking care of debris in the vehicles and on their property."

Water, water everywhere

During a recent Metro Council meeting, a council member asked Transportation and Drainage Director Fred Raiford about when drainage improvements will begin. Raiford said a study would have to be made before he could address the issue. What outside firm got the contract and for how much? When is the study to be completed and implemented?

Raiford tells us: "Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome asked me to get started on developing a Storm Water Master Plan for East Baton Rouge Parish and look at drainage from a regional approach (which would include Ascension, Livingston and Iberville parishes) to look at the big picture dealing with drainage overall.

"The parish will identify and prioritize necessary or desirable improvements to the drainage system and develop descriptions and estimated capital and operational cost. This Master Plan will determine modifications necessary to address the future needs for surface water quality and storm events for the next 20 years.

"HNTB was the engineering firm selected by our engineering selection board. The Metro Council approved the selection in late October 2017. The contract has been signed, and our kickoff meeting on Dec. 11 started Phase I of three phases. Phase 1 is developing various projects that would fall under hazard migration requirements to help improve flood risk areas of the parish.

"Modeling of our streams and the Amite Basin areas are taking place also and should be underway and data being provided by May or June of 2018. Phase 2 will be the continuing modeling of streams and channels to determine the long-term needs of drainage for the Parish. Phase 3 will develop final ordinances and development guidances and develop the Data and Asset Management of the program.

"Our goal is to find ways to improve drainage in areas without impact downstream areas in our parish and adjacent parishes."

The first phase of the HNTB contract will cost up to $528,000, Raiford said.

Send your questions to Ask The Advocate, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.