HARAHAN, La. - River Road at Powerline Drive in Harahan is expected to be closed until at least December. Friday, vehicles detoured around what has already become a huge construction site.
Crews are installing giant discharge tubes as part of the Pump to the River project. The project is expected to reduce chronic flooding along Clearview Parkway in Elmwood and certain low lying streets in Harahan, River Ridge and West Metairie. It will send storm water runoff up and over the nearby Mississippi River levee.
"What we're doing is taking water out of the basin and instead of sending it all the way to the lakefront (8 miles away) to be taken out by Elmwood pump station now, they'll have their own pump station to take it out and pump it out to over the river," said Army Corps Project Manager Rachel Calico.
Jefferson neighbor David Shaw was up on the levee for an afternoon run. He says the detour is the price of progress.
"If it shuts down the road and my running space for a while, it's going to be worth it in the long run," said Shaw. "Hopefully, it's going to improve the situation. Obviously, there's been a bad problem in a lot more that this area as well."
Jefferson Parish Councilman Paul Johnston stopped by to check out the Pump to the River construction.
"This project is going to benefit, not only this area, but it's going to benefit West Metairie, David Drive, the Delta area," said Johnston. "It will benefit everybody. This is something that's been going in the works for 20 years."
The Army Corps of Engineers says the new Harahan pumping station will be able to drain 9,000 gallons of water per second.
"It's about one Olympic size pool per minute, one backyard pool per second," said Calico. The project is now expected to be completed in 2017.
"It's a great day in Jefferson Parish," said Johnston. "Anything has got to make it better," said Shaw.
"I just ask everybody to have patience with us and we'll try to get in and out of there as soon as can," said Calico. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Pump to the River construction will temporarily close lanes of traffic on Jefferson Highway. No timetable yet for that detour.