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Bayou Chene floodgate project now complete

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Posted at 10:41 AM, Apr 29, 2022

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday to celebrate the completion of the Bayou Chene Floodgate.

According to the Governor's Office, the permanent structure will prevent Atchafalaya River backwater flooding from impacting St. Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Martin, Assumption, and Iberville parishes.

The 400-foot floodgate cost $80 million to construct. It has been under construction for more than a year. Utilizing funding from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), it was built in partnership with the St. Mary Levee District.

In February, the floodgate was installed at the sight. Since that time, closures of the bayou and channels have been conducted for last-minute projects to be completed.

“This region has relied on temporary measures to prevent backwater flooding since the 1970s,” said Gov. Edwards. “With the completion of this decades-long effort, the people of St. Mary and the five surrounding parishes can rest easier knowing they’re protected by a permanent flood control structure. I applaud the collaboration between CPRA and the St. Mary Levee District that brought this important project to fruition.”

St. Mary Parish officials highlighted the years of collaborative work that paved the way for the floodgate’s completion.

“We are very thankful for all who had a role in making the Bayou Chene Flood Protection Project a reality,” said Tim Matte, Executive Director of the St. Mary Levee District. “As we dedicate this important project, we now can confidently deal with the challenges that a high Atchafalaya River brings to the six-parish area bordering the Lake Verrett Basin. The three previous emergency closures were successful but costly and risky. Now with the completion of the permanent structure, we can close the Bayou in a timely manner, with minimal impacts to the navigation interests, minimal risk to the team members and with minimal environmental impacts to the region.”

“Since the first emergency closing of the Bayou Chene in 2011, the St. Mary Levee District has been saying two words at CPRA and other meetings in Baton Rouge,” said Bill Hidalgo, President of the St. Mary Levee District. “Those words were ‘Bayou Chene.’ Today we can say two more words to the Governor, his staff, and CPRA – thank you. These words of thanks come from the St. Mary Levee District and the region the Bayou Chene structure protects."

State and local leaders joined in celebrating the project’s completion including State Sen. Bret Allain, State Rep. Beryl Amedée and State Rep. Vinney St. Blanc.

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