Grand Isle levee work stalls as surf from Harvey impacts shoreline

Grand Isle levee work stalls as surf from Harvey impacts shoreline

GRAND ISLE, LA (WVUE) - A lack of material has halted work in Grand Isle as the tiny island in Jefferson Parish braces for possible erosion of its shore due to surf created by Hurricane Harvey.

Crews have been working since Tropical Storm Cindy to build up the island's shoreline but have run out of large rocks meant to sure up the burrito levee already in place.

The rocks are making their way down the Mississippi River on barges from Kentucky, but the delivery is not expected to make it to Grand Isle until Monday, Mayor David Camardelle said.

Camardelle is concerned the delivery could be delayed even more if the effects of Harvey cause officials to close the locks in Lafitte.

At this time, crews have finished about 1400 feet of the multimillion dollar project but still have more than 1700 feet left.

"Hopefully, we are going to get them here Monday," Camardelle said. "We didn't expect this storm to come to this area, but I'll remind you it took us two weeks to get all the extra funding to get all the extra equipment that was sitting here for two weeks. We didn't get to finish what we had but I'm very disappointed. This should have been done in the winter time, but this is how government works."

Camardelle praised the state, parish and local government for putting up the money to fund the project to this point, but he blamed the federal government for not providing additional funding he believes is desperately needed.

"Thank God, I had Jefferson Parish officials step up to the plate, and I've got the governor to step up with Coastal Preservation and Restoration Authority to put all of this together," he said. "If the government would have stepped up to the plate, we would have been finished with this. So I'm very frustrated right now."

Camardelle estimates not having the project complete will cost millions more in the long run.

"By the time this storm comes, we are going to re-evaluate it. We're going to survey it again. I'm probably going to need a few more million dollars to finish it. But there's no reason the government couldn't have stepped up," he said. "We're lobbying as we speak. We've been lobbying since last March, and we've met with the [Army Corps of Engineers] and not even one of them called us back. But we are going to get on them. I promise you that."

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