BATON ROUGE — A Baton Rouge firefighter had trouble getting in touch with city leaders about drainage in his neighborhood, so he called Brittany Weiss with 2 On Your Side for help.
Cody Carmena lives on Highland Gardens Road near Hooper Road. About ten houses are located there on land belonging mainly to two families. Carmena says that for the past few years her family has been trying to get in touch with the city and advise them about their concerns.
“Every time someone goes down here without knowing the route, they end up in the ditch,” he said.
The street is very narrow and only allows one lane of traffic at a time. The drainage ditches that line the street swell with water that covers the road during storms. This caused erosion under the asphalt and pieces of the road fell.
“A gas line is exposed due to leaching,” he said. “A water pipe is exposed due to washout. Water runs down the road every time it rains – it’s a mess.”
The street was taken over by the parish town decades ago, and at one time it was two-lane. Now Carmena says you can barely drive a vehicle there.
On Wednesday, 2 On Your Side was there as a Republic Services truck backed down the street to pick up wood waste. Other trucks backed into ditches and got stuck. There is no turning around.
“If there’s a new pilot with Republic, he’s not coming,” Carmena said.
This Baton Rouge firefighter says it could get worse. Fire trucks and EMS trucks could have trouble navigating the road in an emergency.
“There is always the possibility of an emergency,” he said.
After 2 On Your Side asks questions, the parish town says it plans to visit Highland Gardens Road to take a look at the failing asphalt. Parish spokesman Mark Armstrong says the road is generally in good condition.
“Of course you showed me the edges of the road where they fell, at least one place in particular,” he said. “Yes, we are aware of that now, and we will fix it.”
Carmena says her journey to bring attention to her concerns has been a long one. He says his family has contacted 311 and their counselor Chauna Banks on several occasions.
“We weren’t able to get in touch with her,” he said.
Carmena calls for a meeting to show the town what’s going on. He hopes the meeting will take place before more damage is done.
The parish town says it has received two work orders for drainage in this area and plans to process them by June.
On Thursday, 2 On Your Side was able to contact the city councilor of Carmena to share their concerns.