Gov. John Bel Edwards today joined the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the St. Mary Levee District for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Bayou Chene Floodgate. The permanent structure will prevent Atchafalaya River backwater flooding from impacting St. Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Martin, Assumption, and Iberville parishes.
“This region has relied on temporary measures to prevent backwater flooding since the 1970s,” said Gov. Edwards. “With the completion of this decades-long effort, the people of St. Mary and the five surrounding parishes can rest easier knowing they’re protected by a permanent flood control structure. I applaud the collaboration between CPRA and the St. Mary Levee District that brought this important project to fruition.”
The $80 million floodgate is an investment from CPRA using funding from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) and was built in partnership with the St. Mary Levee District.
“The completion of the Bayou Chene Floodgate is a gamechanger for the homes and businesses across this six-parish region,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “With its installation, nearly 30,000 residents will be protected from Atchafalaya River backwater flooding.”
St. Mary Parish officials highlighted the years of collaborative work that paved the way for the floodgate’s completion.
“We are very thankful for all who had a role in making the Bayou Chene Flood Protection Project a reality,” said Tim Matte, Executive Director of the St. Mary Levee District. “As we dedicate this important project, we now can confidently deal with the challenges that a high Atchafalaya River brings to the six-parish area bordering the Lake Verrett Basin. The three previous emergency closures were successful, but costly and risky. Now with the completion of the permanent structure, we can close the Bayou in a timely manner, with minimal impacts to the navigation interests, minimal risk to the team members and with minimal environmental impacts to the region.”
“Since the first emergency closing of the Bayou Chene in 2011, the St. Mary Levee District has been saying two words at CPRA and other meetings in Baton Rouge,” said Bill Hidalgo, President of the St. Mary Levee District. “Those words were ‘Bayou Chene.’ Today we can say two more words to the Governor, his staff, and CPRA – thank you. These words of thanks come from the St. Mary Levee District and the region the Bayou Chene structure protects."
State and local leaders joined in celebrating the project’s completion and its impact on the greater region.
“During my time in the Senate, there hasn’t been a more crucial project in District 21 and our surrounding parishes,” said State Sen. Bret Allain. “State officials and our local leaders never stopped working on making this day a reality. This investment will set us up to protect our region for decades to come.”
“This massive 446-foot structure is a wonderful development for the region,” said State Rep. Beryl Amedée. “We are grateful for the flood protection this feat of engineering and design will provide to the six affected parishes.”
“Permanent flood protection is what this area deserves,” said State Rep. Vinney St. Blanc. “With the completion of the Bayou Chene Floodgate, I’m thrilled to see St. Mary and the surrounding parishes receiving just that.”