Oakville Floodgate under construction… stillOct 23rd, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: top story
For over a year, work on the Oakville Floodgate—one of the pieces of the $78 million Eastern Tie-In project— has seemed stagnant to residents who have had to deal with the inconvenience of traffic re-routing. But according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
A Corps of Engineers spokesperson said the swing gate was mounted onto the
flood wall earlier this year, but months of hanging in an open position caused tremendous strain on the gate’s hinges causing them to twist.
Over the last few months, the Corps has been working to repair the vital hinges and turnbuckles that allow the gate to be functional, replacing them with stronger material that is better suited for the size of the gate.
The Corps determined that a double swing gate system was the most reliable
way to close the system across Highway 23 because it is a proven reliable risk reduction feature, the rep said.
It requires minimal training and advanced preparation to operate; and it can be closed in four hours or less, which allows travel lanes to be quickly closed and opened in the event of an evacuation.
Additionally, an emergency by-pass road was constructed for authorized vehicles to travel up or down highway 23 when the gate is closed.
“When the two Highway 23 swing gates were initially hung, the turnbuckles were not able to remove the twist in either of the gates,” explained Project
Manager Ted Carr. “Modifications to the turnbuckles have removed the twist in the northbound gate. However, during the closing of the gate an additional
issue with the hinge was identified. Currently, the changes to the northbound hinge are being made. The southbound gate and hinge repairs will follow the hanging of the northbound gate.”
Parish President Billy Nungesser says that the parish advised the Corps put rolling wheels under the gate to provide additional support for the massive structure’s hinges.
“We recommended that the Corps put rollers under the gate, its so heavy to be hanging on the cement wall; its a tremendous strain on the hinges and the wall itself,” said Nungesser. “The contractors are working on their own solution.”
The Oakville floodgate is the final piece of the Eastern Tie-In project, which connects the Mississippi River Levees with the existing Hero Canal Levee.
This system is comprised of a navigable gate across the Hero Canal, levees, a pump station, a floodwall, the Oakville floodgate across Highway 23, a railroad
gate and a tie-in levee at the Mississippi River Levee.
“Both gates [at Oakville] will be functional by the end of November 2012,” said Carr.
Nungesser says that once the gate repairs are completed, the parish will do several test closures to ensure the gate is ready for the 2013 hurricane season.