PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - It could be another year before a popular shortcut from St. Gabriel to Prairieville is open again.
Manchac Rd. near Alligator Bayou was cut during the August flood to help divert water away from homes in that area, but that was six months ago, and those who use the cut through are asking why it's still closed.
There is somewhat of a hidden treasure just beyond the tree lines that surround Alligator Bayou Rd. David and Anne Gregory found it 20 years ago. "It's beautiful, the nature, the birds," David Gregory said.
"It's peaceful, quiet, and you're right in the middle of nature," Anne Gregory said.
That paradise was disrupted six months ago when flood waters rushed in, forcing officials in Ascension and Iberville Parishes to cut three 10-foot deep, 30-foot wide breaches into Manchac Rd. to relieve flood waters from nearby homes. It did the trick. The water is long gone, but the roadway is still closed.
Fishermen like Harvy Lamotte and Rafael Taylor have returned to the popular fishing hole, but they have to park and hike to get here. "It's really inconvenient traffic-wise," Lamotte said.
There is a sign posted right outside the old Alligator Bayou Bar that states no one, regardless of their mode of transportation, is allowed beyond the barricade. Only about a quarter mile of the road is closed, but it is just enough to cause a big headache.
"A lot of times if you want to go to the spillway, you could shoot straight down to Alligator Bayou and catch the ferry, but now you've got to go all the way around to Donaldsonville to the new [Mississippi River] bridge just to get to Plaquemine," Lamotte said.
A spokesman for the Ascension Parish government, Martin McConnell said the road is still closed because upgrades are being made to the flood structure. Engineer for Iberville Parish, Thomas David, said Manchac Rd., which was overtaken by water during the flood, was damaged and is simply too dangerous for travel. David said the road won't be repaired until the flood gates are fixed.
"I guess they've got to do what they've got to do," Lamotte said.
The Gregorys admit it has been nice having the piece of paradise to themselves, but they too are ready to get back to the things they once enjoyed.
"I'm going to do it all, walking and biking," Anne Gregory said.
The engineer for Iberville Parish, David, estimates the roadway will be reopened in the spring or early summer of 2018.