ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall said that a $10 million drainage project for the city is currently in the works.
The mayor made this announcement Friday at his July State of the Community update.
Mayor Hall said that the plan is to use that money to build a Chatlin Lake Canal backwater outflow relief structure, which will be one of the largest projects that will be funded by the Louisiana Watershed Initiative. The project would create a drainage system from the Chatlin Lake Canal and then connect it to the Red River.
“In some ways, the solution we are planning is really a return to the way the water flowed naturally before the levee was even created,” said Mayor Hall. “Just as the levee protects Alexandria from the Red River, it also keeps the water that falls in town from getting to the river.”
The city experienced major flooding issues last year after the drainage system became overwhelmed during Hurricanes Laura and Delta, which caused backwater flooding throughout many neighborhoods. The mayor said this project will reduce the risk of local flooding.
“This is a game-changer,” said Mayor Hall. “This project is going to change the way drainage is handled in Alexandria as well as our neighbors to the south in Rapides Parish and even some in Avoyelles Parish are going to receive some benefits from it. That’s 10 million dollars that we’re going to see spent here to improve the quality of life in these areas that have basically been ravished by floods in the past.”
The city is now working with Louisiana Watershed Initiative officials to finalize the agreement. Once that is completed, the mayor said they will begin the process of getting permits, environmental studies and approvals needed to move forward and create the final engineering plans.
That part of the process is expected to take 18 months. Once completed and approved, the construction phase is expected to take a year to complete.