ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) – A multi-million dollar floodgate, designed to prevent backwater flooding from the Atchafalaya River in six parishes, is now complete.

Governor John Bel Edwards joined state and local officials to officially cut the ribbon on the project, and celebrate the completion of the Bayou Chene floodgate. The project cost $80 million. “This is what $80 million will build. Except, it wouldn’t build it today,” said Gov. Edwards. “I’m glad we built it when we did. To be able to have this permanent structure here now is a huge accomplishment.”

The only way to prevent backwater flooding previously was to sink a barge in the water. What once took days or weeks to do, will now take just hours to close the floodgate. The gate is longer than a football field. It will protect thousands of residents and businesses in six parishes, including St. Martin and St. Mary in Acadiana.

“We knew we had to fight over 10 years, from then to now. We finally got it. We’re here today. I’m so proud,” said State Senator R.L. Bret Allain, District 21 – Franklin. The floodgate is a project under the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the St. Mary Levee District. It was funded by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.