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May 19, 2011 11:13 PM by Maddie Garrett

Crews Repairing Bayou Chene Project

The Bayou Chene Project in St. Mary Parish was built to prevent back water flooding, but now there are complications.

"Bayou Chene is the biggest project we've got going on right now," said St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin.

Last weekend crews sank a 20,000 ton barge in Bayou Chene and blocked off the flow of water with steel sheet pilings. By closing off the waterway the Levee District hopes to prevent back water flooding in Amelia, Morgan City and Lake Palourde.

But Wednesday night one of those huge metal sheets came loose.

"We were in the process of driving sheet pile down and it just happened, it's dynamic," said Bill Hidalgo, St. Mary Levee District President.

The project normally would have taken two months to complete but the Levee District completed it in just eight days.

"These things happen in dynamic projects, and this is a dynamic project. This is a pretty large closure," said Hidalgo.

The sheet piling breach does not mean that it is a total system failure. They do have have crews and cranes working around the clock to fix the problem. Hidalgo said the solution is to drive in longer sheet piling in that area.

"It's under control right now, I mean I don't think people should get alarmed at all," said Naquin.

In fact, the Bayou Chene closure has already proved effective. Water levels are 1.66 feet lower on the protected side of the barge.

"It's amazing already that it's protecting as much as it is," said Hidalgo.

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