Spillway set to be tested due to high water levels
NEW ORLEANS - The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to test the historic Bonnet Carre Spillway next week.
The corps and other flood-fighting agencies are on alert due to high water levels in the Mississippi River.
On Wednesday, crews will practice removing and replacing large crane-hoisted wooden needles - essentially massive wooden teeth - in the flood control structure. The spillway pours river waters into Lake Pontchartrain.
Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett said the exercise will prepare new workers to the system's operations.
The Bonnet Carre is important in the strategy to keep New Orleans from flooding. The spillway, though, is used rarely; the last time in 2011.
For now, the corps says it does not anticipate opening the spillway this spring - based on current river forecasts.