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The Daily Review/Bill Decker
Executive Director Tim Matte tells the St. Mary Parish Levee District Board about progress on flood control projects at Thursday's meeting.

Levee district hears about progress on flood projects

The St. Mary Parish Levee District has spent $5.7 million on the flood-control barge in Bayou Chene with more to come by the time the work is finished, board members heard from their staff Thursday at the Emergency Operations Center in Morgan City.
That work is winding down. The board also heard about progress on two other multimillion dollar projects getting underway: the Bayou Teche flood gate and the permanent Bayou Chene structure that is supposed to make future barge-sinking unnecessary.
Among the projects discussed:
Bayou Chene barge
The channel is open again and the district is moving toward Avoca rock removal.
The decision to sink the barge to fight backwater flooding came May 23, and the work lasted May 27-June 6. The maximum difference in water levels in front of and behind the barge was 54 inches during Hurricane Barry.
The cost up to now has been $5.75 million, which the district has paid but which will be reimbursed by the state and federal governments. The contract for the final removal work went to Sealevel for $1.2 million. The work is expected to be complete Sept. 19.
Bayou Chene structure
All the permits required for the $80 million project are in place, and a $464,000 contract has been awarded to Patriot Construction for the first phase of dredging and clearing. That phase is expected to be complete by Nov. 24.
Another contract for a second phase of dredging drew a low bid of $2.9 million, more than $200,000 higher than the engineer’s estimate. That contract is awaiting action.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the mechanism through which funding for all the work was acquired, has awarded $5 million for the project design.
The phase that includes the flood wall will go out for bid in December.
The structure is seen as a key to protecting areas of St. Mary, lower St. Martin, Assumption and other nearby parishes from backwater flooding when high water enters the Atchafalaya.
The structure is expected to be in place by October 2021.
“We really are making progress,” Executive Director Tim Matte told the board Thursday. “The design work is on schedule.”
Bayou Teche
A flood gate would prevent the Bayou Teche from being flooded by a storm surge by way of the Charenton Canal. The idea is to protect portions of Franklin, Garden City and Centerville from flooding.
The estimated cost is $11 million to $12 million.
The district has submitted an engineer’s certification to the Department of Transportation and Development for permission to let bids. The district anticipates opening bids Oct. 24

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