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Headaches ensue over Comite River Diversion Canal Project – WAFB

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) The following Thursday, March 10 , the task force of the Comite River Diversion Canal was hoping to hear about an agreement had been made by Florida Gas and our federal partners to speed up the process.

“We were hoping for today, but I’m extremely disappointed and angry because they’ve been saying for at least six weeks that on the date of their taskforce, they’re going to be able to give us good news, and they’ll be able to provide positive news, but the next day they have no news…that’s absurd,” said Rep. Valarie Hodges (R).

As the chairperson of the taskforce and also a victim of the floods of 2016 Hodges is a victim of the 2016 flood herself. Hodges has reached her exhausted by the slowness with which the process has been.

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“We were told in December the project would be completed and now we’re considering the possibility of extending it to a whole year. It’s a real shock,” Rep. Hodges continued.

The idea of a diversion channel in the Comite River have been around since the 80’s , after Baton Rouge was dealt a severe blow. Discussions were revived after the 2016 flood. Many are concerned is that one more catastrophic weather event could render regions along the river in a position of being unable to rebuild. The contract has not been signed, but the parties haven’t even begun negotiations. There is no start or deadline for finishing has been decided.

“We do not know which is the issue. Negotiations that the state is currently in progress via DOTD together with Florida Gas, those negotiations will give us the rigor that we require to truly control our construction timeline,” said Col. Stephen Murphy with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Rep. Hodges tells WAFB that from now until the next task force’s meeting she will press on the Army Corps, DOTD, and other agencies to move the ball forward. No date has been established for the next task force meeting at this time.

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