State pledges $80 million for Bayou Chene floodgate
MORGAN CITY, La. (AP) — Residents in six southeastern Louisiana parishes will get some relief from backwater flooding thanks to a new floodgate.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced this week that the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is pledging $80 million to build a permanent floodgate across Bayou Chene.
The money comes from a revenue-sharing agreement called the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act that gives gulf states money from oil and gas developments off their shores.
The floodgate will help Morgan City and other communities in the area that are prone to backwater flooding that happens when the Atchafalaya River is running high and water backs up north up Bayou Chene.
“Backwater flooding in St. Mary and neighboring parishes has increasingly been a problem over the past decade as the Mississippi River and in turn, the Atchafalaya, has reached flood stage,” the governor said in a news release. “Thanks to heroic, emergency efforts by the St. Mary Levee District, the worst was averted in both 2011 and 2016. Today, we are investing in this flood protection project to provide a permanent, long-lasting solution for the people of St. Mary’s Parish and the surrounding region.”
Over the years the area has relied on stopgap measures to hold back the water such as sinking a barge in the Bayou. St. Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Martin, Assumption and Iberville parishes have all been affected.
“In 2016, it took 15 days to design, bid, build and install the temporary barge. It did the job but it wasn’t cheap and it had to be removed after the flood threat passed because it was blocking navigation. Having a permanent structure we can open and close is a better, smarter solution,” said St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff in the news release.
The structure will have a 400-foot barge gate that can be swung into place and then sunk during high waters.