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Levee board OKs shoreline protection work

Work should finish in about a week on a shoreline protection project in the Patterson area to ensure that erosion along the Intracoastal Waterway doesn’t affect nearby levees.

The St. Mary Levee District Commission met Thursday at the parish courthouse.

Commissioners approved a change order for Southern Constructors to do work on the project along the Intracoastal Waterway by Cotten Road and to the west in the Patterson area.

That change order authorized an additional roughly $57,000 in expenses on top of the $65,000 already approved. Officials decided to place the rock along some sections of shoreline on the Intracoastal Waterway that were eroding. The rock is meant to protect nearby levees from being affected by potential further shoreline erosion, Levee District Executive Director Tim Matte said.

Officials had originally estimated that 2,700 tons of rock would be needed for the project, but a total of 3,700 tons was actually needed, Matte said. Moving the additional rocks will be more labor intensive, which is why the unit cost to place the rock is higher, he said.

Leftover rock donated from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ project is being used for the shoreline protection project. Construction on that project began a month ago and should be complete in about another week, he said.

District officials also discussed the projected 6.5-foot crest Jan. 23 on the Atchafalaya River in Morgan City. That crest may affect some businesses on the unprotected sides of the floodwalls in Morgan City and Berwick and require one or two gates to be closed, Matte said.

But, overall, it’s expected to be a minor flood.

Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. 2 in the Morgan City area planned to close the Walnut Street barge Friday morning due to the possibility of increased flood waters entering the area.

The gauge at Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet, has started dropping, which should mean the Atchafalaya River will begin dropping, too, in the coming weeks, Matte said.

During the past few winters, the duration of high water in the area has been longer than in prior years, he said. Still, only in 2016 did the district have to install a temporary barge on Bayou Chene to protect the region from potential flooding. And that closure was mainly because officials initially thought the Atchafalaya may reach 9.5 feet or higher, but it only got to 8.2 feet.

Officials don’t yet know what kind of crest the region may see this spring.

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Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255