Alligator Bayou Road is set to re-open within the next two weeks (Source: WAFB)
The long-awaited opening of Alligator Bayou Road could be days away, Iberville Parish leaders say. The roadway, which connects Iberville and Ascension parishes, has been closed since the August 2016 flood.
The long-winding nine-mile stretch of scenic Bayou Paul Road is freshly paved and ready for visitors, but the newly striped two-way is eventually blocked by construction crews putting the finishing touches on a project that has been underway since 2016. Officials had to make three breaks in the road to alleviate flooding in the Spanish Lake Basin. Owner of Manchac Consulting Group, Kenny Ferachi, says there were always plans to update the flood control structure and the design, and those plans have remained the same.
“We took a step back and re-evaluated what had taken place and at the end of the day, there's no way economically to design for an event like that,” Ferachi said.
Ferachi says the major improvements are beneath the asphalt. Iberville Parish has done away with the old manual control structure and replaced it with a high-tech version that will allow officials quick access during emergencies.
“President Mitch Ourso will be able to control these gates from Plaquemine, where his office is. There's level monitors on the bayou and he'll have a computer access showing the water level in Bayou Manchac and Alligator Bayou,” Ferachi said.
Off the foot of the control structure will be a public boat launch where visitors can take their canoes or kayaks for a cruise down Spanish Lake Basin.
“I am imaging that will be popular back here once this is open for people to be able to take those back there. But the fishing, just seeing the nature back there, is something the public hasn't been able to access ever before,” Ferachi said.
The construction project has had its fair share of setbacks, but Iberville Parish leaders say safety is their priority. Contractors are on schedule to re-open the roadway within the next two weeks. Work will start on the public boat launch once the road is open.