Covering Louisiana

Apr 19, 2014 6:55 PM by AP

DOTD asks Shreveport to open dam's gates

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development wants Shreveport to open Cross Lake dam's spillway drawdown gates, but the city is refusing.

The Times of Shreveport reports that DOTD wants the gates opened to ensure that people living along the waterway aren't flooded if a substantial storm occurs.

But Barbara Featherston, director of the city's water and sewerage department, says the drawdown gates haven't been opened since the 1920s.

And, according to a 2012 inspection document, city officials believe the gates will get stuck if they are opened, thus draining the lake.

"That's a little bit of a problem for us because that's where we get water from," Featherston said. The water would go into Twelve Mile Bayou, she explained.

Cross Lake dam's infrastructure needs are documented in the city's most recent State of the Municipal Infrastructure Report released in February. In letters, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, which has a dam safety program, makes note of issues with the spillway gates and eroded areas on the upstream slope where the embankment is exposed.

Still, city officials say Shreveport has other infrastructure projects that are of greater priority.

"They're not critical," Featherston said. "They're big and they affect the overall city, which is why they are in the state of the municipal report."

In the city's state of the municipal infrastructure report, it is estimated that it could cost up to $3 million to provide additional structural support for the dam and another $10 million to $15 million to replace its more than 80-year-old spillway, which relieves floodwaters.

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