ABBEVILLE — A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative told the Vermilion Parish Police Jury on Monday about the agency’s plans to repair the west Leland Bowman Lock near Intracoastal City.
The lock was damaged after a barge loaded with oil struck it Sept. 30.
When the barge rammed the lock, it tore a hole in the lock’s gates, which could take up to five months to repair, said Vic Landry, the Corps representative.
Landry said the damaged locks have since been removed and are being taken to Bayou Boeuf, where they will be sandblasted, repaired and painted before being reinstalled.
When Juror Nathan Granger asked the reason for the accident, Landry said the cause was still under investigation.
“We are not sure of the details,” he said. “It is all speculation at this point.”
Jurors also expressed concern that saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico was getting into the Mermentau Basin, a major freshwater supply for crawfishermen and farmers, because of the broken lock.
Landry said the east structure, which is just downriver from the damaged west structure, is still operational and functioning as a saltwater barrier.
The east structure is also helping to minimize the loss of freshwater from the basin to the Gulf of Mexico, he said.
Landry acknowledged their concerns and said a change in the weather could help the situation.
“We are in a period of drought right now,” he said. “There were problems in the Mermentau before now, but rain is a cure-all.”
There was no word on cost estimates for the repairs.