Army Corps of Engineers will operate the Bonnet Carre Spillway

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will operate spillway
Updated: Mar. 5, 2018 at 4:59 PM CST
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(WVUE) - The Army Corps says the Mississippi River is rising quicker than originally thought.

The Carrollton Gage showed the water levels at 11 feet last Monday, and today those levels are at 14 feet. The river is expected to keep rising and crest somewhere around 17 feet, but the Army Corps is now planning to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway Thursday to relieve pressure on the river levees.

That decision is based on the flow of the river. The Mississippi River project is designed to pass a flow of 1.25 million cubic feet per second. On March 8, the river is projected to reach the flow rate, which is why they believe opening the spillway is important. The Army Corps is expected to open about 10 bays on Thursday and continue to open more each day. The water will eventually end up in Lake Pontchartrain.

"The spillway is about a mile wide and 6 miles long. There are 350 bays that are closed by wooden needles. We will begin removing those needles when we operate the spillway to let water flow. We will adjust that on a regular basis to get the right amount. We have 1.25 million cubic feet per second flowing pass New Orleans. We don't want to put any more water into Lake Pontchartrain than we have to but the spillway will slowly fill up and then drain into Lake Pontchartrain," said Col. Mike Clancy.

The Army Corps believes the Carrollton Gage will reach water levels of 15 feet in the next 24 hours. At that point, they will begin monitoring the levees and some weak points along the levees each day.

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