NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin the process of closing the remaining bays on the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
A Corps spokesperson said 196 of the spillway’s 350 bays have remained open since a few of them were closed about a week-and-a-half ago.
Workers can safely close about 20 bays per day, the Corps said.
The spillway, which safeguards New Orleans and suburbs downriver, has been operating for several weeks because of high water levels on the Mississippi River.
The river stood at 16.3 feet Tuesday morning at the Carrollton Gauge in New Orleans.
The National Weather Service forecasts the river will fall to 13.2 feet by April 22.
“Based on the reduced flows in the Mississippi River at Red River Landing, the Corps will begin the closing process,” said Corps spokesperson Matt Roe in an email.
The Spillway’s 13th operation, which began February 26, peaked at 206 bays with a discharge of 213,000 cubic feet per second being diverted through the spillway.
The Bonnet Carré Spillway is designed to ensure that the maximum river flow in New Orleans stays at or below 1.25 million cfs.
“Although water levels are receding, allowing the structure’s closure, the Mississippi River in the New Orleans District’s area of responsibility remains elevated,” Roe said.
Corps personnel will continue inspections of levees along the river in Southeastern Louisiana.