Hesco baskets being removed from levees to start design work
MORGAN CITY, La. — St. Mary Parish Consolidated Drainage District 2 is removing Hesco baskets this week from the city’s backwater levees to prepare for design work that will look at how high the levees need to be raised to provide adequate protection for the community.
Workers will remove baskets across the ditch from Victor II Boulevard in Morgan City and are going to Lakeside Subdivision. Work will continue over the next couple days, drainage district board member Lee Dragna said.
“The drainage district has contracted the levee district to raise the levees, but there’s certain aspects of it that the drainage district still has to do,” Dragna said.
The baskets, which are filled with sand, were put on top of the levees to help protect the community during the May 2011 flood and were left on top of the levees.
Geotechnical surveying work on levees is expected to start within the next couple weeks, Dragna said. Engineering firm T. Baker Smith is doing the design work.
The levee district is serving in a project manager role for St. Mary Parish Drainage District 2 for the project because the district does not have any staff, St. Mary Parish Levee District Executive Director Tim Matte said at the levee’s district August meeting.
The contract with T. Baker Smith is still being finalized though an agreement has been approved, Matte said. On Thursday, the levee district commission approved Bill Hidalgo, commission president, to sign a contract for T. Baker Smith to do the design work.
Once the design work contract is complete, a sub-contractor will do the soil borings. The Hesco baskets are being removed so engineers can get to the spots to do the borings, Matte said.
The cost of the design work is about $1.1 million. Funding for the design work consists of Coastal Protection and Authority money, and bond-issued money from the drainage district, among other funding sources, Matte said.
The design work will take place over the next six to nine months, and the design is complete when the construction contract goes out for bid, Matte said.
The estimated cost to do the construction on the levees is $7.2 million, Matte said.
“That’s based on what we know so far,” he said, “And it starts with the soil borings, and that kind of tells a lot about whether you got any problems with the existing levees or whether you can just build upon. All that kind of stuff comes out in the more detailed analysis,” Matte said.
That $7.2 million estimate would cover work from the Auburn levee to the river levee near Lake End Park, which is about a four-mile stretch, Matte said.