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Nov 7, 2012 4:09 PM by AP

Corps to cut hours at 4 S Louisiana locks Dec. 30

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers will cut operating hours at four south Louisiana locks beginning Dec. 30.

They are the Schooner Bayou Control Structure in Abbeville, the Calcasieu River Saltwater Barrier in Westlake, the Berwick Lock and the Calumet Floodgates.

Money saved by reduced hours will go to dredging and lock maintenance, the Corps said in a news release Wednesday.

The biggest cut is at the Berwick Lock. It now operates 24 hours a day, but instead will operate 16 hours a day, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Schooner Bayou Control Structure, which minimizes salinity in the Mermentau Basin, will operate 12 hours a day instead of 14, closing at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. daily.

The Corps says the Calcasieu River Saltwater Barrier's operating hours will go from 16 to 12 hours a day. It now operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; that's changing from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At the request of local government, it will stay open until midnight Thursday through Sunday for the two May weekends of Contraband Days, and on the Fourth of July.

The East and West Calumet Floodgates are open unless water is high. When that happens, their operating hours will go from 12 hours to 8 hours a day. Hours are now 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will change to 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Berwick Lock and Calumet Floodgate reduce the risk of floods on the lower Atchafalaya River and Bayou Teche and also are a navigation link to lower Bayou Teche.

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