Abraham announces Corps of Engineers projects in NELA, CenLa
WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, 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 $5.898 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 $14.782 million for this fiscal year. The repairs are expected to take 60 days, according to the Corps.
“The Lindy Boggs Lock and Dam provides essential flood control measures not only for Avoyelles Parish but also for communities up and down the Red River. I fought hard for the funds to fix these gates because the people who live near the river must be better protected in times of flooding. I appreciate the Corps for undertaking these repairs. I know there are a lot of people in Central Louisiana who will be glad to see these gates fixed,” Dr. Abraham said.
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.
Dr. Abraham contacted the Corps to request the dredging to ensure that the there is no disruption to waterway commerce, especially during the harvest season. The Corps has agreed to dredge the accumulated sediment, and it will also conduct dredging in the area on a larger scale in mid to late August.
“Maintaining open waterways is critical to the economic well being of our port communities and for our farmers who rely on these ports to move their commodities to market. I thank the Corps for agreeing to dredge around the port so that we can prevent any disruption in commerce,” Dr. Abraham said.