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Bonnet Carre Spillway likely to open as river continues to rise

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BATON ROUGE - The mighty waters of the Mississippi River are on the rise, and people are beginning to take notice.

"It's getting high. You can see the top of the tugboats you know coming by and they're usually not that high up," said Matt Frazier, who works across the street from the Baton Rouge levee.

“Today it's been a lot higher. I was going to go down there, but obviously, you can't," said Chase Constantine, who bikes along the levee each day.

The US Army Corp of Engineers has been working with the local levee boards to inspect the levees twice a week, but they have forecasted that by March 10th, officials will have to start making daily inspections.

“They’re working with the local levee boards and inspecting the levees from Baton Rouge all the way down past New Orleans," Matt Roe of army corp of engineers said. “They're right on top of the levees looking for any seepage or any possible areas that could lead to major problems later on."

Roe says we are still about three weeks away from the river cresting, but the Corp of Engineers is planning for what to do when it reaches its highest water levels.

Although the river's high level may not lead to any flooding, it may lead to the Bonnet Carre Spillway being in operation for the second time in less than three years. And according to the Corp of Engineers, that is not what is generally expected.

“From the time it was built in the 1930's to 2008, it was operated about every 10 years. It was operated in 2008, 2011, 2016 and there's a possibility of it being operated this year,” Roe said.

Officials are closely monitoring the weather in the midwest because what happens there will definitely have an effect on the river here.

“Right now it’s precipitation. That's one of the reasons the extended forecast isn't as accurate because precipitation in the area up north can have an influence on that," Roe said.

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