Corps closing spillway as Mississippi River water level falls

The Army Corps of Engineer’s Mississippi Valley Division (MVN) opened the Bonnet Carré Spillway on April 2. The MVN opened a total of 90 bays and has now closed 60 of them.

Designed to pass flood water from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain above New Orleans to prevent flooding below the floodway, the Bonnet Carre´ Spillway is a flood control structure on the Mississippi that extends from Mile 128.8 Above Head of Passes to Mile 127.3 Above Head of Passes.

The forecast flow with a total of 30 bays open is estimated to be 28,000 cfs which is being diverted from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain via the floodway. The flood control structure has a total of 350 bays and just over one-quarter of the bays were opened to pass the cresting flood waters.

Utilized to manage the number of bays opened to ensure the flow of 1.25 million cfs is not exceeded below the flood control structure, the spillway’s operation is based on the estimated flow at Red River Landing (Mile 302.4 on the Mississippi).

The Mississippi River forecast indicates a gradual and slow decrease in flow through the second week of May. The MVN anticipates closing the structure slowly based on forecasted stages and flows. The flood control structure’s operation will have a duration of approximately 29 days, with full closure expected by May 1.

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