The New Orleans District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced they are planning to perform maintenance and repair work on existing stone bank protection at the Bayou Boeuf and Berwick locks.
According to a release by the corps, the projects involve placing fill and dredged material on the bank and into surrounding waters to fortify the bank and prevent erosion caused by currents and wakes from ship traffic.
“The existing stone bank protection features at bayou Boeuf Lock and at the Berwick Lock are in need of maintenance and repair work,” the corps report reads. “The proposed work would fully restore the protective function of these bank slope paving features to prevent erosion along the land/water interface at these lock structures.”
According to the corps plan, new stone will be placed on top of the existing stone paving and/or articulated stone mattress and adjacent bank lines at the two locks.
Broken stone and/or concrete revetments will also be broken up and repaired or replaced.
The Bayou Boeuf project consists of three separate reaches (areas), while plans at the Berwick Lock call for the repair of one reach.
The corps also is planning to dredge near the work area if necessary to facilitate barge access as the areas are prepared and new materials are floated in to complete the projects.
All work is planned to be completed without hindering ship access in and out of the channels and the channel will be backfilled upon completion of the work if dredging is necessary.
According to Port of Morgan City executive Director Jerry Hoffpauir, the project is one periodically undertaken by the corps, but a welcome one by the port.
“We are happy to see they are planning to undertake this project,” he said. “The armoring of the banks where the channel comes into the Atchafalaya River plays a major role in preventing those banks from eroding away due to the tides and wakes from vessels entering and leaving. This is a plus for us that they are protecting those banks.”
According to the corps release, there is no firm cost of the project, as the corps is unsure how much material will be needed to complete the job.
Other agencies involved in the planning of the project include the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Marine Fisheries Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Coast Guard, the La. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the La. Department of Natural Resources, the La. Department of Transportation and Development and the La. State Historical Preservation Office.
The corps must wait 30 days to receive public comment on the project before work can begin on the locks.