Congressman Ralph Abraham announced Wednesday that two important projects led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are underway in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District.
On Monday, the Corps began repairs on five non-functional tainter gates at the Lindy C. Boggs Lock & Dam No. 1 on the Red River in Avoyelles Parish.
Congress provided the Corps with approx. $5.9 billion for fiscal year 2016, which is $500 million more than Congress allocated to the Corps the previous year.
At Dr. Abraham’s urging, the Corps directed some of this additional money toward the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway to bring the total budget for this repair project and dredging projects to approx. $14.8 million for this fiscal year. The repairs are expected to take 60 days, according to the Corps.
On Tuesday, the Corps sent a dredge to the Lake Providence Harbor to remove accumulated sediment that could prevent waterway traffic as water levels fall later in the year.
During high water events, a small chute northeast of the harbor carries increased flow from the Mississippi River and deposits sediment in the main harbor channel.
As the water level decreases, the resulting sediment causes shoaling, which is a hindrance to navigation and forces port operators to light-load barges.
This year’s extended period of high water along the Mississippi has caused severe shoaling that has restricted barge drafts to nine feet or less, which would have created a problem during the late-summer harvest when traffic at the harbor is at its highest.