Sealevel gets contract for Bayou Chene barge

One of the key components of the Bayou Chene flood control project will cost more than expected. But it may be completed a little sooner than expected, too.
The St. Mary Levee District voted at a special meeting Thursday to accept the bid submitted by Thibodaux’s Sealevel Construction Inc. for the project's Phase Three, the construction of a barge that will be swung into place to block back-flooding.
The district’s board had delayed a decision at last week’s regular meeting after only one bid, from Sealevel, was submitted for Phase Three.
Sealevel’s bid was for $22.7 million, exceeding the engineer’s estimate of $20.1 million.
The idea behind the extra week was to talk with Sealevel about ways to reduce the cost, including a shorter construction schedule that might avoid extra expenses related to working through a high-water season.
Sealevel agreed to try to cut 70 days from the 500-plus day construction schedule, district Director Tim Matte said.
Sealevel also holds the contract for Phase Two, the other major piece of the Bayou Chene project.
Phase Two is a 400-foot flood wall across Bayou Chene.
The Phase Three barge will rest parallel to the bank until high water requires the closure of the structure. When the time comes to prevent back-flooding, the barge, one end of which is connected to a pivot, will be swung into place in the flood wall.
Phases One and Four involve construction of a levee along the Tabor Canal.
The long-sought Bayou Chene permanent structure is designed to prevent the need for the solution used up to now: the temporary sinking of a barge in Bayou Chene.
That method has been employed three times in recent years at a cost of millions each time.
Nearly a year ago, funding came through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for the permanent solution St. Mary officials had been looking for — the flood control project now under construction.
The estimated cost is $80 million.


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