HOUMA, La. (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers says a federal levee designed to protect Terrebonne Parish and parts of Lafourche Parish from storm flooding will cost $12.9 billion. State and local officials would have to come up with 35 percent, or up to $4.5 billion.
The plan released Friday includes 36 additional miles of levee, extending the 98-mile Morganza project from U.S. 90 in Gibson to Louisiana Highway 1 in Lockport.
The corps plans a meeting about the proposal Jan. 31 at the Houma Municipal Auditorium. It will take public comments then and, until Feb. 18, by mail, email, phone or fax.
The big new price tag was expected and was one reason the district asked voters for a half-cent sales tax, Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District director Reggie Dupre told The Courier (http://bit.ly/X6IjMm).
“It will be very, very difficult to get funding for this project short of a disaster that destroys this local economy, which is exactly what we're trying to prevent,” Dupre said. “We need a federal project to get comprehensive protection from hurricanes . But we're better off building this on our own in the meantime.”
The recently approved tax will pay for 10-foot levees and 18-foot floodgates as interim protection along Morganza's path.
The federal plan calls for levees up to 26.5 feet high, with flood protection and water control structures up to 33 feet high. Levees will be 282 to 725 feet wide. The project also includes a lock on the Houma Navigation Canal, 19 floodgates and 23 water-control structures.