Work to begin on part of $80M Louisiana floodgate project


CHARENTON, LA – AUGUST 21: The Atchafalaya River runs through the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest wetland and swamp in the United States, on August 21, 2019 in Charenton, Louisiana. According to the group Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, an organization dedicated to protecting the land, the Atchafalaya River has been gradually filling up with dirt, sand and silt. Along with threats from logging and oil and gas drilling, the sedimentation could to lead to the basins potential destruction. The Basin’s cypress swamps are adapted to withstand severe weather events, providing a buffer to slow storm surges from hurricanes and tropical storms. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

FRANKLIN, La. (AP) — Work is set to begin on part of an $80 million project intended to help control backwater flooding in several southeastern Louisiana parishes.

Contractor Sealevel Construction Inc. received approval from officials in St. Mary Parish last week to begin constructing a permanent barge that would be placed in Bayou Chene to block water that backs up when the Atchafalaya River is high, news outlets reported.

Officials have said the 400-foot (122-meter) barge gate would be swung into place when needed. In the past, a temporary barge has been submerged in the bayou to prevent flooding.

The barge is one part of the floodgate project, which will also include the construction of a flood wall and a levee.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced last year that the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority would fund the project through a revenue-sharing agreement that gives gulf states money from oil and gas developments off their shores.

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