By: Jacob Batte, HoumaToday.com
June 19, 2016
Last week the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District connected two sides of the massive Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee system, providing Terrebonne Parish with about 31 miles of connected storm protection from east to west.
Contractors from Ceres Environmental, known for its debris removal work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, finished laying the foundation of a 9,000-foot levee built in open water from Bayou Sale Road to the Four Point Road area near Cocodrie and Dulac on June 12.
“Now that gap is closed off, you have some connect-ability and flood protection from Falgout Canal Road all the way to Pointe-aux-Chenes,” said Terrebonne Levee District Director Reggie Dupre.
Known as Reach G-2B, the project is not complete, though. Contractors now must build the $13 million levee to its designed 13-feet height. Work on the levee began last summer and contractors expect to finish this summer before the heart of hurricane season – from early August to early October – sets in.
Once the levee is complete it will be armored, meaning rocks and fabric will be added at the base of the levee to protect against day-to-day erosion.
Like most levee district projects, the work will require some mitigation. Federal law requires entities to create wetlands for every acre impacted by the project. Officials expect to name a contractor for the $10 million project later this summer.
Filling in the gap is a step toward a major milestone set by Dupre back in 2008. The goal was to create about 35 miles of the system before the 2017 hurricane season.
Reach E, which is the westernmost leg of the storm protection, started last year and is expected to be complete before the next hurricane season. The $21 million, five-mile project would complete Dupre’s goal.
“That’s going to be in a very short 10-year period. I think that’s great,” Dupre said.