Multi-million dollar flood control project nearing completion, road set to reopen
UPDATE: Alligator Bayou Road in Ascension Parish, also known as Manchac Road in Iberville Parish, will reopen to traffic at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday. The roadway has been closed since the August 2016 flood.
ST. GABRIEL- A $2.5 million floodgate project where Alligator Bayou meets Bayou Manchac is nearly complete, which means the road that connects Ascension and Iberville Parishes will soon reopen.
Wednesday, parish officials and engineers tested three large floodgates at the Bayou Manchac flood control structure. It's brand new and was specially designed following the Great Flood of 2016. The gates are large enough to allow water to drain the Spanish Lake Basin. During the August 2016 flood, the existing gate there was not big enough and officials had to cut the road in multiple places to let water out of the basin. Those cuts immediately caused relief for people living in St. Gabriel, Prairieville and Geismar.
Ken Munson and his wife are avid cyclists. He can't wait for the road to finally open.
"More than eager," Munson said. "We've been coming down here checking on the progress every day."
Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso used funds from Hurricane Gustav and Ike to upgrade the gates. The upgrades were needed after water poured out of Bayou Manchac and flooded the Spanish Lake Basin.
"As you experienced the first test as I did, I'm really impressed at the engineering," Ourso said. "As you know we didn't get reimbursed for the road cuts."
In addition to bigger and more efficient floodgates to drain water from the Spanish Lake Basin, the parish purchased a sophisticated network of aquadams to keep water in Bayou Manchac.
Once the road reopens, drivers will notice white marks along the road. Those marks are for aqua dam placement in the event of another flood where the dams will need to be deployed.
"Barring weather, the contractor is supposed to finish with the road next week," Justin Haydel, a project engineer said. "Before the end of July, the road will be reopened."
The multi-million dollar floodgate project cost does not include the costs to fix the roads. Altogether, the total is around $5 million.