- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

HOUMA, La. (AP) - The Terrebonne Parish Levee Board has awarded a contract to a design team for a long-anticipated lock on the Houma Navigation Canal that aims to protect Houma and much of the parish from storm flooding.

The Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1BIs0LE ) the levee board hired CB&I; as the lead firm in the design process.

The lock complex, estimated to cost more than $400 million, will enter the preliminary design phase in the coming weeks thanks to $8 million from the state from the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

The lock is part of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane-protection system, a collection of levees, locks and floodgates that, if built to federal standards, will cost an estimated $10.8 billion.

The lock’s design phase is expected to take two years, while construction could total five, officials say.

Levee officials say additional money will either come from the state through the coastal agency or from fines levied against BP and allocated to the states affected by the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Levee Director Reggie Dupre said an engineering contract will most likely be presented to the board in March or April.

The purpose of the lock is to stop storm surges from reaching Houma and potentially as far as Lafourche Parish by way of the canal and the connecting Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Currently the $48 million Bubba Dove floodgate installed in 2013 serves that purpose, but it is often open, allowing salt water to enter the marsh surrounding the canal.

The lock complex also is expected to bring fresh water from the Atchafalaya River through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway into the marshes in central Terrebonne to help salinity levels.

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


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