Houma floodgate to be ready for hurricane season

HOUMA (AP) — The flow of the Houma Navigation Canal completely stopped this past week for the first time in the waterway’s 50-year existence.

The door of the Bubba Dove Floodgate was connected and fully closed as part of ongoing improvements to the area’s hurricane protection system.

Terrebonne Levee District executive director Reggie Dupre said the closing allowed the contractor to install a pivot piling that connects the floodgate to the surrounding hinge mechanism.

“All the pumps and the system operated well. Now it is a matter of the painting and the touching up and a few smaller items,” Dupre said. “By May 1, expect it to be operational. It will be fully complete by June 1.”

“Our goal from day one was to have this gate ready for hurricane season,” which begins June 1, Dupre said.

Officials said the closing was a milestone for the mammoth structure. The barge portion of the gate was delivered on Valentine’s Day.

The floodgate consists of a receiving structure that will serve as the frame and hinge for the steel barge that operates as the gate’s door. The frame for the gate is a floodwall, which will ultimately tie into the parish’s levee system, and another “jacket structure” the gate will hinge on and ultimately press against when closed.

The barge is 273 feet long. It was floated from Bollinger Marine Shipyard’s Amelia location down the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to the canal.

The floodgate mostly will remain open allowing marine traffic to pass along the waterway.

But when a storm approaches, Dupre said the barge will be winched from its resting position just south of the frame and take 45 minutes to become flush with the frame.

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