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Phase I of University Lakes Restoration Project Moves Forward

BATON ROUGE, LA — Gov. John Bel Edwards and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, joined by fellow University Lakes Project partners, announce that Phase 1 of the University Lakes Project is now fully funded. Construction will begin this summer, led by Sevenson Environmental Services. The governor and mayor-president shared public comments alongside LSU President William F. Tate IV, Baton Rouge Area Foundation CEO Chris Meyer, and BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson.

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for the greater Baton Rouge community and the many people throughout our state who visit and enjoy the University Lakes regularly,” Edwards said. “This important and exciting initiative is the outcome of the early vision of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the more recent collaboration and funding of several community partners. As we revitalize and enhance this much-beloved area of Baton Rouge, we will also reduce flood risk for surrounding areas and increase recreational amenities for the broad community.”

For the past year, Sasaki has worked with the State of Louisiana, the City of Baton Rouge, LSU, and the Parish Recreation and Parks Commission on the revitalization of the University Lakes system, one of the most prominent public spaces in Louisiana.

The water quality, habitat, and infrastructure has degraded and is on the brink of collapse. By moving 600,000 cubic yards of dredge, the team is creating a more ecologically resilient and recreationally rich amenity for all people of Baton Rouge. The first phase of the project will focus on dredging five of the six lakes, building or repairing the network of pedestrian and cyclist paths, and adding recreational amenities along the length of the lake’s edges.

The first phase of the University Lakes Project includes water quality, flood risk reduction (dredging) efforts, and mobility improvements addressing the key areas identified as critical by participants in the public engagement process. The dredging will allow City Park, Erie, College, Crest, and Campus Lakes to be deepened, as well as a portion of University Lake. Major elements of Phase 1 are:

  • Dredge material will be used to create the foundation for living shorelines to help manage and clean stormwater before it enters the lakes.
  • Weirs and control structures will be improved to increase the flood storage capacity that the lakes can provide.
  • City Park and University Lakes will become hydraulically connected and a new May Street bridge constructed, which will allow paddlers and wildlife to move between the two largest lakes more freely.
  • Key mobility improvements will include crucial safety adjustments to intersections and provide dedicated paths for pedestrians and cyclists in the areas where they are needed most.
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Phase 1 completion is expected by December 2023 at a total cost of $32 million. Phase 2, dependent upon future funding, will deepen and reshape the remainder of University Lake.

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Vogele
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