Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), along with state and local officials, broke ground today on Phase 2 of the Fisher School Basin Flood Risk Reduction Project, a floodwall being built along Bayou Barataria at the construction cost of $11.2 million. The project is 1 of 10 high priority planned flood risk reduction projects planned for the Jean Lafitte area of Jefferson Parish.
The 1.4-mile sheet pile-and-concrete cap floodwall is an extension of a previously-built 1.5-mile floodwall completed as Phase 1 of the Fisher School Basin Project. Together, the two projects will tie into an existing back levee, providing flood risk reduction to approximately 450 acres of the community, including more than 300 residential and commercial structures.
“The people of this area deserve protection from tidal and storm surges, and we are here today delivering on the commitment made in our Coastal Master Plan to provide that protection,” said Gov. Edwards. “But this is just the beginning, and I want you to know the commitment remains strong to deliver on the other important flood risk reduction projects in the area and across the state.”
The Town of Jean Lafitte is situated along the Barataria Bay Waterway approximately 13 miles south of New Orleans and has seen a history of flood events from rainfall, tropical storms, and even extreme high tides.
“I want to thank Governor John Bel Edwards, CPRA, Senator Alario, the Lafitte Levee District Commissioners, and the Jean Lafitte Town Council for their leadership and help in getting construction underway on this phase of the Fisher School Basin segment of our system,” said Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner. “I also agree with him that we cannot stop. This is just one of the individual projects that have to come together before we have the protection system we deserve.”
Mayor Kerner, who is also head of the local Lafitte Area Independent Levee District (LAILD), has strongly pushed for this and other projects in the area. CPRA and LAILD are focused on securing additional project funding to complete the Rosethorne project and future flood risk reduction projects, including ones for Crown Point, Paillet Basin, Goose Bayou, and Lower Lafitte, that will result in improved flood risk reduction for residential and non-residential property. Phase 2 of the Fisher School Basin project is being funded through a combination of a state surplus, state capital outlay, and statewide flood control funds from CPRA and the Department of Transportation and Development. The LAILD will be handling operations and maintenance of the project after completion.
“By the time of completion of this project, the state will have invested over $30 million for both phases one and two of this single component of the overall tidal protection system,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “Of course it’s going to take more money to do all we want to do here in the Lafitte area and elsewhere, but with Mayor Kerner, Governor Edwards, our state and local officials, we have a very strong team that is working in sync to protect the businesses and residents in this community from floodwaters.”
CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase oversees implementation of coastal protection and restoration projects, working in cooperation with local entities like the LAILD.
“We expect construction of this Fisher Basin project will be completed around September of next year,” said Haase. “Meanwhile, we are working on what comes next, the Rosethorne area section. We expect to bid that out for construction later this year. In all, there are 10 projects either in construction or in planning and design.”
The floodwalls along the waterway are expected to be built to an elevation of 7.5 feet. The back levees will be built to an elevation of 8.5 feet.
B&K Construction Company, LLC, headquartered in Mandeville, La., is the construction contractor for Phase 2 of the Fisher School Basin project.