Long-term solution coming for downtown sinkholes

Long-term solution coming for downtown sinkholes

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Sinkholes in the road are an issue all over Lake Charles and a pretty common sight in the Downtown area.

Drivers usually have to dodge the cones, especially on Division Street.

If you drive down the stretch of Division Street between Ryan and Bilbo you're probably used to having to avoid a sinkhole.

The most recent one - caused by a cracked drainage line under the street that allowed water to seep in and created a void - was fixed Tuesday.

"They just go in, cut out a section and pour asphalt in there as a temporary fix," said Assistant City Engineer Shelley Fontenot.

She says this has happened two to three times in the past year, costing a total of around $1,000.

"The first time, about a year ago, was actually a water leak," said Fontenot. "When they went in to fix the water leak, that's when they identified there were cracks in the drainage line as well and then they went in and 'CCTV-ed' the line and realized there were other infrastructure cracks in a two-block area. We set up a capital project to improve it."

Fontenot is talking about a $309,000 pipe-bursting project starting next week to actually replace 900 feet of the 60-year-old clay line.

"It will take the contractor three to four weeks to actually replace the 24-inch line from Ryan to Lakeshore," said Fontenot.

Crews will run a new pipe inside the old pipe, breaking the old clay pipe, while leaving the new pipe and maintaining traffic flow on the surface.

This project is part of the city's new $5.2 million drainage plan, approved in September.

The City says it will be making an aggressive effort to look at all drainage lines in the city through a CCTV camera system, splitting it up into zones and starting in problem areas – the older areas.

City Administrator John Cardone says the construction on the Erdace apartments will also start in January, so both projects will be going on at the same time.

He says the city is working to coordinate and keep the traffic flowing in that area.

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