With the Mississippi River falling below flood stage after months of high water, Baton Rouge city-parish workers on Thursday began power-washing the downtown levee front and pier of river silt and other debris.
Mark Armstrong, the city-parish government spokesman, said the cleaning work is expected to take three to four weeks and could require the use of a fire truck to spray off the muck left by the receding river.
The work over about a mile of levee front will include cleaning the red Baton Rouge letters affixed to the flood barrier.
Armstrong said workers will also have to remove 20- to 30-foot logs and other debris piled up on the pier downtown and repair damage from months of being under water.
He said the debris removal and minor repairs are common each year after the spring flood ebbs but this year's flood has brought more material than usual.
"Right now all they can really do is cut away the trees while the river's still going down," Armstrong said.
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Adding it will probably be another month before the river is low enough, Armstrong said workers already know the boat dock bumpers and some stair handrails will need repairs and are waiting to see the status of dock lights that are still submerged.