City of Lake Charles addresses drainage concerns following flash-flood event

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 8:10 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Tuesday’s flash flood points to a bigger question as to where Southwest Louisiana stands in the fight against drainage issues following Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

In Lake Charles, some areas got up to six inches of rain. The heaviest of that rain impacted the following areas:

  • 6th Ave. from 3rd & 4th St.
  • Kirkman St.
  • Ryan/School St.
  • Hwy. 90 - west of 171
  • Prien Lake Rd.
  • Louisiana Ave.
  • E. Tank Farm Rd.
  • Common St.

Last year’s storms were a major test for local drainage systems, and officials say although they’ve made strides, there’s still more work to be done.

Tuesday morning’s flood was an unfortunate but familiar scene for many Lake Area residents. Although many say flooding is inevitable, city leaders say when floods strike, drains answer the call.

”Generally, everything is designed to handle it. In some cases, mother nature wins and it backs up and just takes some time to drain off,” said Lake Charles Planning and Engineering Director Mike Huber.

Huber said this latest storm revealed previous areas of concern and points to the current and future work needed to solve the issue.

“4th avenue between 6th and 1st street, that’s a known area of high water,” Huber said. “Crews probably have cleaned out hundreds of thousands of feet of ditches. Unfortunately because of the hurricanes, we’ll be starting over again because of the debris and limbs from the debris pickup process.”

This problem seems like an ongoing situation for many.

“I just think throughout this whole situation, you know with the flooding here on Kirkman Street, it’s been four decades of this, and I think by now we should have this problem fixed,” said Derrick Edwards, Owner of Kingsley Building Solutions.

Huber says he’s hopeful that within the next year, they’ll be able to make some progress on many of the city’s problem areas.

”Without what we’ve already done, the flooding would have been worse. It’s hard to measure that. Some of this we have to wait on budget process but certainly, if any new areas pop up as a result of the storm last night, we’ll put them on our list and try to address them,” Huber said.

Huber said during Mayor Nic Hunter’s first term, $15 million was allocated to repair the city’s drainage system.

“We’re also going to go 50/50 with DOTD and clean all the lines under Ryan St. The timeline for that will be the next year or so.”

Huber mentioned areas near Ryan Street also being a major concern. He’s hopeful that federal disaster money will be allocated to fix more drainage issues in the long run.

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