River level topped 4 feet
The Atchafalaya River water level in Berwick Bay rose to about 4.3 feet Saturday, which was higher than expected, causing the Coast Guard to issue additional towing limits for large towing vessels traveling northbound and southbound in Berwick Bay, Coast Guard Lt. Jay Michalczak of Morgan City said.
Last week, the Coast Guard issued towing restrictions for southbound traffic in Berwick Bay after the river level rose to more than 3 feet. Because the river level rose above 3.5 feet over the weekend, restrictions to towing vessels more than 600 feet long traveling northbound were also issued, Michalczak said.
As of this morning, the river level was at 3.8 feet and should stay at that level until Friday, he said. “Our hope is that it will come down enough Friday to where we can remove those northbound limitations and just have the southbound,” Michalczak said.
The impact to vessel traffic will still be minimal, only impacting towing vessels pulling barges more than 600 feet long, he said. “It’s ensuring that they have controllability going through the bridges based on horsepower. If they don’t have enough horsepower, we require them to have an assist vessel,” Michalczak said.
Only two or three of the type of vessels the restrictions apply to come through the area each day, he said.