Cheniere Lake Spillway waiting on $300,000 from the State

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OUACHITA PARISH, La (07/05/19) — The spillway to the only lake in Ouachita Parish has been down for years. It seems as if the Ouachita Police Jury is starting the money and drawing process over again… after almost six years of waiting.

The first problems were detected in the Cheniere Lake Spillway six years ago.

“For years we thought DOTD was going to replace it, they had a plan in place,” Said Jack Clampit, Vice President of Police Jury-District B.

And at no cost to Ouachita Parish. Three years later, a flood caused major damage to the spillway.

“On each side of the gates, we’ve had a problem with erosion. The abutments below the spillway got washed up, broken up during the 2016 flood,” said Clampit.

There are similar problems under the bridge too. The state planned on rebuilding and Ouachita Parish saw no reason to fix the spillway. But last year, the state said there wasn’t enough money in the budget to rebuild and backed out on the rebuilding plans.

“This year they said okay, we agree you need help. We’re going to help you fund it. We are going to give you $300,000, but we’re gonna do it in what’s called priority two capital outlay,” said Clampit.

Priority two capital outlay means the money won’t be received this year and we might get the money next year, only if the budget can fund it.

Officials have said rebuilding the spillway and bridge could cost up to $6 million. The $300,000 emergency fund will help fix the spillway until it can be rebuilt.

The new design will be less expensive and expected to be rebuilt in the next three to four years. However, Vice President Jack Clampit says the police jury is working hard to get moved to priority one. This would allow Ouachita Parish to get the money right away, make the fixes and sign off on the safety of the structure.

“So whatever repairs we make now are basically temporary, that will let us hold water in it until they get the plans drawn, they get the right away bought and then the state will replace the spillway,” said Clampit.

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