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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Larose Floodgate shipped off for repairs

Larose Floodgate shipped off for repairs

According to the South Lafourche Levee District (SLLD), the Larose floodgate, which protects lower Lafourche from a rising tide in the Intracoastal Waterway, has been removed for maintenance.

What this means is that until the gate is reinstalled, it is possible that a 1.5-foot tidal surge in the Intracoastal Waterway could cause flooding in Golden Meadow.

At Monday’s SLLD public meeting, General Manager Windell Curole explained why the removal of the gate was required and the risk involved, and expressed confidence in getting the work done in a timely manner.

The Larose floodgate, also known as the Ted Gisclair floodgate, has been in place for many years but has never been removed, said Curole.

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has mandated periodic examination of the floodgate as a routine step in maintaining the gate system. But SLLD has been hesitant to remove the gate in the past because of the risk of flooding and instead sent divers below the water line to examine the gate doors.

“The divers saw no rust and only a handful of barnacles on the locks,” said Curole.

As to the question of why the gate has been removed now, Curole said because of USACE’s insistence, SLLD felt that the work should be done in the first two months of the year.

“We checked (the history on yearly tidal fluctuations) and this is the best time of the year to do the work and avoid this type of flooding,” he said regarding the risk of removing the gate doors.

SLLD advertised for bids to examine, refurbish and improve the gate doors and recently awarded the $1.38 million project to Centaur Construction, LLC of Belle Chasse.

The two gate doors have already been barged to Belle Chasse where they will be sandblasted and painted. In addition, 5 feet of wall will be added to the top of each door to bring them up to a +13 foot elevation when reinstalled.

At Monday’s meeting, project engineer Joe Picciola of Picciola and Associates, Inc., noted that work is proceeding well and requested a first payment to Centaur in the amount of $239,685.

The gate should be back on site in February and the project completion date is February 27th.

Said Picciola: “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can get this project done soon!”

Although SLLD does not expect delays, according to the contract Centaur could be penalized at a rate of $2,000 per day if the project runs beyond the completion date.

SLLD says the goal of the gate system is to maintain the water level in Bayou Lafourche to a safe level below a +1.0 ft. elevation. When the gauge at either floodgate reaches +1.0 feet, the gates are closed.