Graves Announces Major Comite Diversion Canal Construction Project
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) announced today that The Corps of Engineers has awarded the first Comite Diversion Canal construction contract in 15 years. The $55,050,170 contract will include the construction of two new bridges, US 61 bridge and Kansas City Southern railroad bridge, and excavation and construction of the canal from US 61 to the Lilly Bayou Control Structure.
“This is the moment residents of East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Ascension Parishes have been waiting and paying for decades to happen. We are taking our first major step toward the completion of the Comite Diversion project. Under the current construction schedule, we will have better flood protection by the end of next year,” Graves said.
During the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA 2018), Graves was serving as the chairman in charge of the Corps of Engineers at the time and was able to break a decades-old logjam and secure a record $1,400,000,000 ($1.4 billion) on three key flood control and hurricane protection projects for South Louisiana. Graves also secured $300 million through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and $50 million in USDA funding specifically for Livingston Parish flood mitigation – made possible due to a Graves’ amendment in the February 2018 federal funding bill.
"We've been able to secure $3 billion in flood protection funding since the 2016 flood. The $1.4 billion is paying for the 1980s protection on projects like Comite that should have been built decades ago. The $1.2 billion and other additional funds are future protection, which will allow the Capital Region to be better prepared and more resilient for the natural events we expect to happen," Graves said.
The Corps has recently completed some clearing and grubbing and have made repairs to the Lilly Bayou Control Structure. Utility relocation along the canal's alignment continues. The Corps are expected to award contracts this summer to build bridges at McHugh Road, LA 19 and LA 67, and to excavate the canal in those areas. More clearing and grubbing will occur when final parcels of land are acquired, followed by canal excavation. The Corps is finalizing design on the “drop structures” that will allow Baton Rouge, Cypress and White’s Bayous to drain into the canal.
The estimated contract completion date is December 31, 2021, which is the target completion date for the entire Comite River Diversion Canal.