Gulf of Mexico
An artist's rendering shows what the Houma Navigation Canal lock complex will look like when completed. via Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

LA - Construction Set to Begin on $400 Million Flood-Protection Lock in Terrebonne

Construction will begin later this year on a $400 million lock in the Houma Navigation Canal that serves as the linchpin to Terrebonne Parish's hurricane-protection system.

The action comes after the project, in the works for years, received final permits last week from the state Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“I never dreamed that we would be building this lock before my retirement,” said Reggie Dupre, executive director of Terrebonne's levee district, which will lead construction of the lock. “Great job to everyone involved, and now it’s time to start construction.”

The lock is expected to be complete in May 2024, Dupre said.

The single largest public-works project in parish history, the lock aims to block storm surges that could stream up the canal, which runs about 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Intracoastal Waterway in Houma.

Aside from protecting Houma and other inland communities from flooding, the lock will channel fresh water from the Atchafalaya River through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and into eroding marshes in central and western Terrebonne.

The 110-foot complex, part of the parish’s Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane-protection system, will work in concert with the existing Bubba Dove Floodgate south of Dulac. Most boats heading to and from the Gulf oilfield will navigate through the lock system, but the Bubba Dove Floodgate will have to be opened for wider vessels.

Morganza, a 98-mile system of levees, locks and floodgates, is designed to protect most of Terrebonne and parts of Lafourche from hurricane storm surges. Its levees are virtually complete to a height of 12 feet using state and local tax money.

Local officials have lobbied for years to get Congress to approve the money it will take to upgrade Morganza to the corps' hurricane-protection standards, a cost now estimated at $3.2 billion.

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