Bonnet Carre spillway to open tomorrow

by The Times-Picayune

Thursday April 10, 2008, 10:59 AM

The Bonnet Carre Spillway will open at noon tomorrow for the first time since 1997 in an effort to divert water from a rapidly rising Mississippi River.

The order to open the spillway was signed today by Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, who serves as president of the Mississippi River Commission.

It's been more than 10 years since the Bonnet Carre Spillway was pulled from its recreational duties to serve its original purpose - diverting the fast rising and even faster moving Mississippi River from overtaking New Orleans.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been monitoring the river levels for several weeks and had thought that an opening wouldn't be necessary. However, recent rains in the Arkansas, Ohio, and Upper Mississippi River Valley have heightened flood worries.

The opening of the spillway in St. Charles Parish will lower river stages in New Orleans while causing a rise in Lake Pontchartrain. Corps officials said they don't expect to open the entire spillway, and that the opening will probably last between 2 and 4 weeks.

Mississippi River- Bonnet Carre spillway to open tomorrow

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