When water levels rise in Bossier Parish, the resulting damage is usually visible. But there’s another rise in water levels that aren’t visible to the naked eye that’s beginning to cause trouble that could become significant.
Parish Engineer Butch Ford told a group of developers and engineers last week that a rise in water table in the area between Red River and Red Chute Bayou is so significant that it’s causing many subdivision streets to fail.
“After getting feedback in these neighborhoods, we can go to just about any asphalt street and show you damages,” he said. “Consequently, we’re going to have to take steps and amend some sections of our subdivision ordinance. These will directly impact you and that’s why I wanted us to get together.”
Some of those changes call for surfaces with no less than three and one-half inches of asphalt pavement on residential streets rather than the current two inches. Base material will be a minimum of 10 inches of crushed stone or its equal. A 12-inch base of soil cement may be used after soil tests have been run to determine the percentage of cement content needed.
“Soil cement isn’t working. It weakens with moisture,” Ford said. “We’ve seen soil cement in south Bossier that was 12 inches thick and it has turned to jello after three floods.”
Ford said he understand the cost factor to the developer.
“I realize that $8 soil cement has turned into $20 stone and $20 asphalt has become $35,” he said. “But we’ve got to do something or we’re looking at constant repairs to our subdivision streets that may not eliminate the problems.”
In discussions last week concerning a different kind of water problem, Ford said drainage difficulties are causing problems in one parish subdivision and efforts are underway to alleviate the issue.
“We’re seeing water from one of our ditches in Lucky subdivision diverting to the back of a homeowner’s property where it cannot exit. It just backs up when it rains and the back yard fills up with water,” Ford explained.
It’s a problem that Ford and the police jury have been trying to solve for some time. Now, he’s talking with another property owner about obtaining an easement and laying a pipe with a rear flap gate that would channel water out of the neighborhood and into Stumpy Bayou.
“We need the easement to get this done quickly,” he said. “There’s another way to go, but it would be more difficult because there’s an old levee we’d have to cross. That levee is what’s holding the water.”