- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) - A $20 million project to dredge parts of Bayou Lafourche is expected to begin in early 2015.

Ben Malbrough, Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District executive director, tells The Courier (https://bit.ly/VChCob ) 16 to 18 months of work could start in January. This is the second $20 million dredging of the bayou in the past four years.

The project aims to increase Mississippi River water flow into the bayou.

“The bayou is our source of local drinking water, and the more constricted it is, the more that source is threatened,” said Hugh Caffery, Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District Board chairman.

In 2011, the Freshwater District completed a dredging project that opened nearly 6 miles of Bayou Lafourche between Donaldsonville and Belle Rose.



Officials say the district is hopeful the second phase will go from Belle Rose to just past the Spur 70 Bridge, but the exact location of the project’s end won’t be determined until construction bids are received.

The district hired civil engineering firm T. Baker Smith of Houma in April to analyze the bayou and determine the most beneficial region to spend the money.

While T. Baker Smith advised the district to pick up where it left off, the firm also looked at dredging the bayou from Thibodaux north.

Money for the project comes from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, which sends revenue from offshore energy production back to the state for restoration projects. The program requires the project be complete by December 2016.

Preliminary designs will be submitted to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for a review that is expected to be completed in mid-July.

Over the past year, engineers have been surveying and collecting data on land surrounding the proposed section to be dredged.

“They’re taking a bunch of borings … to determine the soil characteristics to make sure the design cross section of the bayou that we’re going to cut is stable,” Malbrough said.

Officials are also working with landowners on agreements to dispose of material. The project will dredge nearly 800,000 cubic yards of mud from the bayou.

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Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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