State highway designers have settled on a preferred route for an emergency detour of Louisiana Highway 70 around the Bayou Corne-area sinkhole in Assumption Parish and will seek the public’s input on the proposal this evening.
A new state analysis says the 1.09-mile route would cost $10.2 million and link Highway 70 with Louisiana Highway 69 through a route parallel to Highway 70 and about 1,000 feet north of it.
The Advocate reports the state Department of Transportation and Development has been developing the route, as well as a much longer and far more expensive bypass.
Highway 70 is a critical freight, commuter and hurricane evacuation corridor with few other alternatives, and the loss of Louisiana 70 without an alternative could force lengthy reroutes of 44 to 70 miles, the DOTD environmental assessment says.
The highway runs just north of the sinkhole, which is visible from the highway. The lake-like hole emerged in early August 2012 after a Texas Brine Co.-operated underground salt dome cavern developed a breach that set in motion the movement of rock and sediment that formed the hole.
Though rock and sediment are expected to slowly fill the failed cavern for years, state estimates say the sinkhole will not reach the highway.
An open house-style public hearing on the emergency detour is planned from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 17 at the Assumption Community Center, 4910 La. 308, Napoleonville.
DOTD officials said they do not have plans to build the detour or the longer bypass unless La. 70 starts showing signs sinkhole subsidence is compromising the highway.
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