Lafayette to Spend $20 Million on Dredging Vermilion, Drainage Improvements
Lafayette Consolidated Government will spend $20 million dollars on spot dredging the Vermilion River within Lafayette city limits and other projects designed to improve drainage in the city.
The Lafayette City Council approved an emergency ordinance to dedicate that funding to the LCG Public Works Department during an emergency meeting on Thursday.
Nearly $16 million of that money would come from the city's general fund. The other $4 million would come from the city's capital improvement fund. LCG Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups clarified that those funds will be used strictly in the city and that none of the money will go into the parish drainage fund.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory told the council that LCG does not have permission to dredge the entire Vermilion River. Guillory said the city may dredge the parts of the river that flow inside Lafayette city limits. Guillory also said this emergency ordinance will help LCG expedite the bid law process for dredging the Vermilion River and other drainage projects LCG is planning.
Public works director Chad Nepveaux told council members that his department has been looking at spot dredging within city l limits. He says LCG has received a report from Fenstermaker showing them where the high-priority areas in the river are. According to that report, areas near the Coulee Ile des Cannes and Coulee Mine are the highest-priority areas for dredging.
"The surveys are done," Nepveaux said. We know where we need to be doing some maintenance. We quantify that, and getting moving on this is probably the highest priority project that we think will certainly serve a lot of people in the city.
"I can tell you the Coulee Mine where it goes into the Bayou Vermilion is the worst area where you have very shallow water clean across the river," Nepveaux added, citing the heat maps included in the Fenstermaker report. "It's probably not even really navigable with any sizable boat."
"We do anticipate there will be additional spot dredging once there is at least additional funding for spot dredging," Guillory added, referring to the Coulee Ile des Cannes and Coulee Mine projects as "Phase 1" of dredging.
That work could begin as early as 30 to 45 days from now.
Nepveaux also told the council that the public works department continues to focus on other drainage improvement projects, such as flushing culverts, ditch digging, and retention ponds. Guillory said in addition to funding those projects, the money will help pay for two flusher trucks to help ease spot flooding in neighborhoods.