- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2015

BELLE CHASSE, La. (AP) - A tugboat with two barges slammed into the massive Army Corps of Engineers-built West Closure Complex on the West Bank of New Orleans and did minor damage to a sector gate, according to flood protection officials.

The $1.1 billion structure was built as part of the better defenses the Army Corps built for the New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina.

Nola.com/The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1KAV0ru ) that the incident happened on the morning of April 16 when the MV Pelican was pushing two barge tows through the open gate in the waterway and the barges struck the east sector gate.

One barge floated into a fueling platform for the structure, which is designed to hold out hurricane storm surge from the West Bank area of New Orleans. That structure was damaged too.

John Monzon, Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West regional director, said the collision in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway has not affected the West Closure Complex’s 11 pumps and floodgate.

About 30 vessels pass through the sector gates daily.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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