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Workers from LAD Services prepare a barge for its sinking in the Bayou Chene in an effort to prevent flooding from the opening of the Morganza Spillway on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Amelia.

After arriving Wednesday morning, officials are expected to begin the 8-hour process of submerging the barge in Bayou Chene ahead of schedule.

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority said that once the barge is positioned at the temporary floodgate, crews will begin the submersion process, which should be completed Wednesday.

Once in position, four workers will descend into the barge and manually turn each valve 100 times, sending 6-7 million gallons of water flooding into various tanks inside the barge. The process is choreographed and diagrammed to ensure the barge sinks properly without flipping.

The barge is expected to prevent flooding in unintended areas of Assumption, St. Martin, Iberville, St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes.


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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin opening the Morganza Spillway on Sunday to relieve rising water levels. It has only been opened twice in its history, the last time being in 2011.

A coast guard safety zone in the vicinity will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday. According to the coast guard, all vessels must keep a minimum distance of 2 nautical miles within Bayou Chene Light – 4.

No vessel or person is permitted to operate in the temporary safety zone unless authorized by the captain of the port or designated representative.