Livingston councilman seeks fix for road flooding problem

A Livingston Parish councilman on Thursday passed out photos that show continued flooding problems on heavily traveled Eden Church Road between Walker and Denham Spring after moderate to heavy rains.

Councilman Marshall Harris said the problem needs to be corrected before someone is hurt or killed and said he plans to make a detailed presentation at the council’s next meeting on June 12, when Parish President Layton Ricks and two other council members will be present.

Ricks is currently in Washington, D.C. with other parish officials pleading the parish’s case with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over millions of dollars in disputed costs connected with the cleanup of Hurricane Gustav that the parish contends should be paid by FEMA.

Harris shared with fellow council members and news reporters photos taken on Eden Church Road that indicate the severity of the flooding that occurs on the thoroughfare. One photo shows a fire truck with water over the tires. Another shows a mail carrier’s vehicle partially underwater.

“We have got to come up with a solution to this flooding. An estimated 18,000 vehicles travel that road every day, and I want to make the public aware of the problem before a mother and child or someone else drowns or gets killed there,” Harris said in an interview.

Councilman Jim Norred echoed Harris’s concern. He said the problem has gone unsolved for too long. Both pointed out that about $2.2 million was spent improving Eden Church Road but the problem with flooding continues.

Harris said Ricks claimed the road was safe and that drainage would not be a problem when improvements to Eden Church Road were completed in the summer of 2013.

Further, Harris said, Ricks had said that there was no need to pursue any action against the road project’s engineers Alvin Fairburn & Associates.

However, Harris and Norred contend that the road remains dangerous following rains, and both said the road either needs to be raised or a retention pond needs to be built nearby to carry excess water off the road.

Harris said the council and public will get a thorough look at the potential dangers on Eden Church Road when he makes his presentation at the June 12 meeting, which will include video of the flooding problems.

In a related matter, Councilwoman Joan Landry said she was prepared to discuss flooding in Montrose Subdivision on Thursday but decided to table the matter after meeting with engineers with Gravity Drainage district No. 1 and the state Department of Transportation and Development.

She said residents of the subdivision had complained of flooding and toilets backing up following rains.

However, she said some drainage laterals had been cleared and she would await the results of that work before proceeding.

In other business, the council introduced and set for public hearing on June 12 an ordinance that would require the parish administration to make certain records available to members of the council over the Internet.