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State Announces Closures and Preparations for Opening of Morganza Spillway

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE (May 13, 2011) – Louisiana officials advise citizens to expect road closings and other impacts when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Morganza Spillway during the next 24 hours. The state will begin closing impacted roads and restrict public access to some levees in order to protect the public from dangerous conditions.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Morganza Spillway, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will close the three-mile segment of La. 1 that crosses the Spillway and assist in the inspection of the structure. The closure for the initial Spillway opening is estimated to last for several hours, and it is the only closure of La. 1 currently anticipated.

The detour routes for the closure will be as follows: northbound La. 1 to La. 10 to La. 77 to U.S. 190, and southbound La. 1 to La. 105 to U.S. 190. The detour is approximately 80 miles. The sections of roadway that are part of the detour are either protected by levees or elevated.

Louisiana State Police will be working side by side with the Louisiana National Guard, DOTD, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the affected areas to ensure that road closures and detour routes are clearly marked and fully staffed.

LSP troop Commanders have been working closely with Sheriffs and Chiefs in the predicted inundated areas to ensure full coverage. In addition to providing manpower for road closures, Troopers in the affected areas will be continuously monitoring the levee system and adjacent roadways.

With cooperation from DOTD, Troopers will ensure that additional water hazards are addressed immediately as they are discovered. State Police and DOTD will be in constant communication so that additional road closures and alternate routes can be established if needed.

Additionally, all levees along the Atchafalaya Basin will be closed to public traffic when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Morganza Spillway this weekend. Enforcement officials will patrol levees along the Atchafalaya Basin in order to protect lives and reduce stress on wildlife seeking refuge from the flood waters.

Working together, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Levee Districts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents and local law enforcement will enforce these closures.


EXPECTED ROAD IMPACTS

DOTD has released a list of roadways that are projected to be impacted, as well as detour information related to the closure of La. 1 needed for the initial Spillway opening.

”It is imperative that citizens prepare for flood conditions,” said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. “Our hope is that this list of roads we’ve identified and closure information will help them to do just that.”

The following is a list of roads that are expected to be impacted by the opening of the Spillway. DOTD will monitor these roadways and perform closures as necessary.

Assumption Parish
•    The La. 182 bridge at Bayou Bouef (St. Mary / Assumption Parish line) may be impacted.
•    La. 182 east of Morgan City to the Terrebonne Parish line (Assumption and Terrebonne Parish) will be submerged and unusable.
•    Sections of U.S. 90 in St. Mary and Assumption Parish may be impacted.
•    The following roads may be impacted by roadway flooding (sections up to 3 miles in length): La. 182, La. 662, La. 663, La. 398, La. 400, La. 401, La. 402, La. 70.
Iberia Parish
•    La. 997 on the east side of the basin will be submerged and unusable.
Iberville Parish
•    La. 975 from US 190 to I-10 (18 miles) will be submerged, subject to wash-out out and unusable. This includes sections in Pointe Coupee, Iberville & St. Martin Parishes.
Pointe Coupee Parish
•    La. 975 from US 190 to I-10 (18 miles) will be submerged, subject to wash-out out and unusable. This includes sections in Pointe Coupee, Iberville & St. Martin Parishes.
•    La. 10 from La. 77 to the Atchafalaya River (6 miles) will be submerged and unusable.
•    A 1.6-mile segment of La. 77 within the floodway will be submerged and unusable.
•    Three miles of La. 417 from La. 10 to end of control, approximately .5 miles south of the Morganza Levee, will be submerged and unusable.
St. Landry Parish
•    La. 10 within the west floodway may be impacted.
•    La. 105 (north of Melville, between Melville and Krotz Springs and south of Krotz Springs) may be impacted.
St. Martin Parish
•    La. 70 near Stephensville will be submerged and unusable.
•    La. 70 (St. Mary / St. Martin Parish) will be submerged and unusable.
•    La. 3177 will be submerged and unusable.
•    La. 975 from US 190 to I-10 (18 miles) will be submerged, subject to wash-out out and unusable. This includes sections in Pointe Coupee, Iberville & St. Martin Parishes.
St. Mary Parish
•    La. 182 Bridge at Bayou Bouef (St. Mary / Assumption Parish line) may be impacted.
•    La. 182 (Wax Lake Outlet to Berwick) may be impacted.
•    La. 70 (St. Mary / St. Martin Parish) will be submerged and unusable.
•    La. 83 from Glencoe to Weeks Island road (St. Mary Parish and lower Iberia Parish) will be submerged and unusable.
•    La. 319 to Cypremort Point will be submerged and unusable.
•    La. 317 south of the levee will be submerged and unusable.
•    Sections of U.S. 90 in St. Mary and Assumption Parish may be impacted.
Terrebonne Parish
•    La. 182 east of Morgan City to the Terrebonne Parish line (Assumption and Terrebonne Parish) will be submerged and unusable.
DOTD urges motorists to use extreme caution when traveling on roadways within the spillway and requests that motorists stay off the roads whenever possible. Citizens can get the latest updates on real-time traffic, closures and road conditions by using the 511 Traveler Information System simply by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region about which they are seeking information. Travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Web site at www.511la.org.

For emergency updates from the State of Louisiana, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or follow along on Twitter at @GOHSEP and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gohsep.

[via Louisiana.gov]

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