Work to repair Mississippi River bank damage at Duncan Point set to begin in the coming months _lowres


The problem child of the Mississippi River levee in Baton Rouge needs more attention, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to do some repair work in the coming months, this time on the river side of Duncan Point.

Several cuts in the river bank were created this summer after high water in the Mississippi River receded quickly.

A Pontchartrain Levee District inspection after the water receded revealed two deep cuts in the river bank on the river side of the levee, said Rene Poche, a Corps spokesman.

The sandy material is about 100 feet riverward from the base of the levee, with one cut about 12 feet deep and the other about 20 feet deep, Poche said. The repair work will be done by Corps workers at a cost of about $200,000.

The levee remains stable and undamaged, and there were no problems caused by the cuts during the latest high water, Poche said. The repairs will help ensure that the scour won’t continue the next time the Mississippi River rises.

Duncan Point was the focus of a much larger project after the historic 2011 Mississippi River floods when an $8 million project increased the size and weight of the levee on the landward side. For years, this section of the levee system on the east side of the river near BREC Farr Park Equestrian Center has been watched carefully.

When the river is high, the weight of the water in the river pushed water under the levee and up on the landward side. At times, the pressure resulted in sand boils, which needed to be monitored. Sandbags are used, at times, to equalize the pressure, in case there was an indication of a levee problem.

Other times, the high water in the river would push through to even start filling up ditches or bubbling up through road surfaces nearby.

The Pontchartrain Levee District often would add extra weight to the landward side by adding sandbags. Then, in late 2011 to early 2012, the Corps put in place a more permanent solution by placing large amounts of dirt on the landward side to equalize the pressure in this area.

The berm at the bottom of the levee was expanded 250 feet along about 1,500 feet of the levee length. The work also raised River Road in this section about 5½ feet.

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