New project announced to protect Southern University from erosion

Southern University Ravine Project.
Southern University Ravine Project.(WAFB)
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 3:32 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The erosion on Southern University’s campus, due to the water coming from the Mississippi River, has been an issue for several years. But now that experts say we have the money to fix this issue, they can finally begin to fix the problem. Parts of campus are slowly but surely drifting away into the Mississippi River and the Student Health Center is most vulnerable.

“What would happen if nothing happened...what would happen if we left this and said ‘oh well, it’s mother nature?’” asked Congressman Troy Carter (D).

If nothing were to be done, the campus would eventually lose most of its historic oak trees, architecture and important utility systems on campus grounds.

“Investing in infrastructure is obviously a top priority for all of us, but quite frankly, investment requires money,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.

This is why on June 1, Congressman Carter and the Governor announced a $35 million project to stop the erosion. Around $7 million of that would come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

RELATED: La. officials announce funding for Southern University ravine protection project

“This is an opportunity that’s been made available to us because of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Which Congressman Carter helped shape, it did pass with bipartisanship, and I also want to thank Senator Bill Cassidy for voting for it as well,” Governor Edwards continued.

“Today is a great collective victory for Southern University,” Congressman Carter added.

The goal is to provide permanent erosion control along the ravine. Additional control measures will be placed near the Health Center near the Law Center. A small dam will be placed to control water flow and specialized erosion-resistant armor will also be placed along the ravine.

“It will ultimately enable us to define Southern University for another 142 years, at least,” said University President Ray Belton.

Pre-construction already began back in 2021. But, full construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2024 and is expected to be a two-year project.

The next phase in this project will be to provide a permanent solution to the erosion happening in the Scott’s Bluff area. They say that will be their next top priority. We are also told that the state will foot part of the bill for the project. Around $10 million has already been set aside in the budget.

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