Archive >> Central >> January/February 2009 >> Articles >> The Comite River Diversion Project

15/Jan/2009

The Comite River Diversion Project is well on its way toward reducing flood levels from the Comite River. Dietmar Rietschier, executive director of the Amite River Basin Drainage and Water Conservation District, said as long as the project continues to receive funding the deadline should be met.

The 12-mile long diversion channel is meant to keep the Comite River from overflowing and flooding the surrounding area. When completed, the channel will reach from the Comite River to the Mississippi River.

“The main purpose of the project is to divert water from the Comite River sub-basin during flooding events into the Mississippi River,” Rietschier said.

About 50 percent of the excess rain water that falls in the upper Amite basin will be diverted to the Mississippi River rather than making its way to the Baton Rouge area. This will result in lowering the flood stages. The Lily Bayou, a drop structure, was originally scheduled for completion in the spring of 2007. After complications from hurricane Katrina and funding issues, the deadline was pushed back to the winter of 2008, but Rietschier said the plan is expected to be finished within the next eight to 10 months.

“We have been delayed for several months because of funding at the federal level,” Rietschier said. “We are finally making headway with the critical issue of funding. The next construction we are hoping to start at the beginning or middle of 2009, at Highway 67 and Plank road.”

Another bridge is expected to be built at Highway 964 as well.

Rietschier emphasized the Comite River Basin Diversion Project’s need for adequate funding. Rietschier said because of the most recent economic issues he expects more help from the federal government. He said a new economic stimulus plan will be presented to the United States Congress which he expects to put larger emphasis on public works projects.

“In terms of the long term deadline, we expect 2015. That might be a reasonable thing,” Rietschier said.