By Stacey Tinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Residents who live in an area of Haughton know that when it rains, their road floods. But since January, they say the flooding has gotten significantly worse.
Homeowners along Princesa Drive approached the Police Jury at its Oct. 3 meeting about what it would take to relieve the flooding before it begins affecting their homes..
Rosilind Scott, who has lived on Princesa Drive for 13 years, said when it rains that water will accumulate in front of her home, but she said that it is progressively getting worse.
Upon noticing the potential danger to her and her neighbors’ homes, she said she informed the Police Jury back in April about the situation.
“The water started to get really bad this year. Back in January I noticed that the volume of water has grown. It got really bad in April. On Sept. 22, when we had that bad storm, that was the worst I have ever seen the water. We couldn’t even get out of our homes,” Scott said. “I started calling the Police Jury in April and in August I started emailing. I wasn’t satisfied with the response.”
Since moving near Princesa Drive almost four years ago, Kevin Harrelson has noticed the continuing flooding problem that occurs near his house and wants something done about it.
“We’re having bad, bad flood control and water problems over here. Two weeks ago when we had the flash flood warning, we had about 18 inches and it came up five feet up my drive way. During the flood on Sept. 22, we had MPC trucks up here and the Bossier Sheriff’s department up here blocking the road to keep people from running in high water,” said Harrelson. “But instead of them doing it all the time and wasting our tax dollars, invest a little. Either (re-dig) the ditch, or clean the existing ditches out, or buy us out. No one should have to live like this.”
The Police Jury said its engineering department personnel is continuously working on drainage projects that help protect residence against high water, but there are some areas where performing necessary maintenance and upkeep on drainage systems isn’t possible.
“We are aware of the issues. We try to respond where we can as quick as possible. We’re developing a plan so that next year we can make some improvements in there to try to help the situation,” said Bossier Parish Engineer Butch Ford.
Addressing the flood situation on Princesa Drive at the Police Jury meeting, Ford said that there are a number of issues around that location and the Jury cannot work the drainage without easement.
“We are having a number of issues in and around (there). The jury cannot work on drainage projects unless we have easements,” said Ford.
Ford said he had inspected one concrete ditch that needed clearing. When he returned to his office and checked records, he found the jury did not have the easement.
“We have to be so careful when helping people where the space is tight,” he said. “We don’t have the easement, but this is a public need. We will just have to see what we can do.”
Easements do not automatically come to the Jury when the body votes to accept streets and roads into the parish system for maintenance. In the past, Ford explained, the request would be brought to the Police Jury and easements would be acquired by donation from the property owner.
Drainage is usually the responsibility of the subdivision developer, Ford continued. Consequently, some systems are configured in strange manners and are sometimes very close to existing homes, leaving little room for the equipment necessary for repairs and maintenance.
“This is probably the most unusual drainage system I’ve ever seen. It’s very unique,” said Ford.
Harrelson told the Jury that every “decent rain” turns the street red with dirt. He said it started that after Ivey’s built their location on Hwy. 80.
At the north end of the property is Ivey’s Builders and Materials. Ford said he has been working with Ivey’s Builders and Materials and has requested new assessment studies of there current drainage system by a civil engineer.
“We have been dealing with Ivey’s lumber at the north end of the property that ends there. We’ve requested in a meeting a month ago for a drainage study. They submitted a plan to us and we have some questions about it. Were going to to need some more information, “ said Ford.
Ivey’s Builders and Materials General Manager Josh Johnson said that they are working with Ford regarding the drainage situation in the hope it can be fixed.
“We’ve worked with what Butch has asked us to do and we’re about to make some changes in our existing drainage plan. We’re trying to make it right. I wish I could say what the issues were. We want to be good members of the community. And we don’t want to be a burden to anyone here for sure. That’s the last thing we want to do,” said Johnson.
In the meantime, residents aren’t necessarily angry, they are just worried and feel like they’re out of options.
“I want the Police Jury and our tax dollars to work the way they are supposed to work. And I know things don’t happen instantly, but if you can at least try, try something. I don’t see them trying anything. At least try something that will alleviate some of the flooding or something to slow down the flow of water,” said Scott.