by Jim Smilie
The City of Alexandria recently completed the final phase of a drainage project that started in 2002, covered more than 300 acres of residential and commercial properties and cost a little more than $4 million.
Known as the Wooddale Outfall and Railroad Improvement Project, the work was designed to improve drainage around the Wooddale community of the Alexandria Housing Authority as well as areas around La. Highway 1 North and the New Enterprise Addition subdivision area.
“Drainage has been a concern for Alexandria residents for decades, and we are pleased to be able to complete the final phase of this major project,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “With the increased rains we have been seeing in recent years I know residents are eager to see drainage relief. The reality is, larger, high-impact projects like this one can take years, or even decades to complete. We appreciate the vision of previous administrations to start this project and we are pleased to see it to the conclusion. This project will tie in well with the drainage programs we are launching as we work to continue to improve water flow through the region.”
Phase 1 of the project started in 2002 near the Woodale community with work at the head and end of the project outline. Phase 2 began in 2005 with improvements made in the vicinity of the railroad tracks near the intersection of North MacArthur Drive and I-49. Phases 3 and 4 filled in the middle and connected the work done in the first two phases to completed the outfall project, with the final phase of work starting in 2009.
Milestones in the project include installation of box culverts along Railroad Avenue in Phases 1 and 2, creation of a concrete-lined open channel in Phase 3 and box culvert installation at the end of Martha and Paris Streets as part of Phase 4.
The finished project has the capacity of carrying more than 1,500 cubic feet per second of runoff at its outfall. That is the equivalent of draining an Olympic-sized swimming pool – 660,000 gallons – every minute. The project also included construction of a flood control structure at the Bayou Rapides outfall.