November 8, 2021
Gov. Edwards Breaks Ground on HNC Lock Complex,
Announces Completion of Grand Bayou Floodgate 

Grand Bayou Floodgate Named in Honor of Rep. Reggie Bagala
DULAC, LA – Gov.  John Bel Edwards today joined the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) as well as local and state officials to break ground on the Houma Navigation Canal (HNC) Lock Complex and announce the completion of the Grand Bayou Floodgate, two critical components of the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection System. 

With the completion of the 147-foot Grand Bayou Floodgate, the Morganza to the Gulf system now has a continuous levee segment stretching 47 miles from Grand Bayou in Lafourche Parish to upper Bayou Dularge in Terrebonne Parish to prevent floodwaters from impacting the region. The newly completed floodgate was named in honor of the late Louisiana Rep. Reggie Bagala, who passed away from complications due to COVID-19 in April 2020. 
“Today we are announcing two substantial advances in our efforts to provide Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes with 100-year storm surge protection,” Gov. Edwards said. “The Grand Bayou Floodgate will honor Rep. Bagala’s memory while providing improved hurricane protection to the people and place he called home. This project, combined with the soon to begin HNC Lock Complex, are game-changers for the entire Morganza to the Gulf system.” 

The Morganza to the Gulf system will benefit approximately 1,900 square miles in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes through flood control, salinity control, and ecosystem restoration. 
“The road to strengthening the Morganza to the Gulf system and providing the Bayou Region with upgraded hurricane protection has been paved by hard work and collaboration with parish governments and levee districts,” CPRA Chairman Chip Kline said. “We’re thrilled to announce such meaningful progress toward our shared goal of providing a safer and better protected future for those in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.” 

Phase 1 of the HNC Lock Complex project will dredge over 1 million cubic yards of material to prepare the area for the lock complex and create 178 acres of marsh in six areas north of the complex along the navigation channel. Phase 1 is anticipated to be complete in the fall of 2022. 

The HNC Lock will allow a longer window of opportunity for navigation activities when the adjacent Bubba Dove Floodgate is closed to protect communities from storm surge or high water events. During gate closures, the lock will allow vessels to travel in either direction on the HNC, enabling officials to close the floodgate earlier and keep it closed longer, benefiting the area’s ecosystem suffering from saltwater intrusion.

Terrebonne Parish President Gordon “Gordy” Dove and Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson joined the Governor for the announcements and praised the projects for enhancing the Morganza to the Gulf system’s hurricane protection capabilities. 

“The Grand Bayou Floodgate is a critical link in the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection system,” Dove said. “We are delighted with its completion and express our thanks to Gov. Edwards and CPRA. In the foreseeable future, the Morganza levee will rise to 18 feet, its full design height, providing both Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes with considerably more storm surge protection. The HNC Lock complex is a companion piece to the ‘Bubba Dove’ Floodgate, and will allow marine traffic to effectively bypass the floodgate when it’s required to be closed to protect against storm surge and saltwater intrusion. Terrebonne Parish has worked very closely with CPRA and the Levee District to bring this project to its long-awaited start.”

“The new Grand Bayou Floodgate is another tool to help protect our residents and I’m glad to see construction being completed,” Chaisson said. “This culminates the work of a lot of agencies over many years and will help protect our residents for years to come. Additionally, to see this structure dedicated to Rep. Bagala defines what the people of Lafourche are about. Hard work, dedication, and resilience are three things that Reggie stood for and three words that mean so much to so many in Lafourche Parish.”

The HNC Lock Complex is a joint effort of CPRA and the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District. A tentative bid date for construction of Phase 2 of the lock structure, which will include an 800-foot lock chamber with 110-foot-wide sector gates, is anticipated in spring 2022.

Engineering, design, and construction for Phases 1 and 2 of the HNC Lock Complex are funded with money resulting from the damages of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, allocated through the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act). 

“The completion of the Grand Bayou Reggie Bagala Floodgate in Lafourche Parish truly represents the single-minded focus of our entire region in south central Louisiana because flood waters do not recognize parish boundaries,” Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District Executive Director Reggie Dupre said. “As a native of Pointe-aux-Chenes, a small rural two parish community on the Terrebonne-Lafourche boundary, I am very appreciative of our partners in getting this done. Additionally, the beginning of construction of the HNC Lock Complex is a huge landmark in our efforts for hurricane protection and maintaining sustainable coastal communities. In 2014, then CPRA Chairman Garret Graves, CPRA Executive Director Jerome Zeringue, State Sen. Norby Chabert, and State Rep. Gordon Dove led the charge to use Deepwater Horizon oil spill funds to build the HNC Lock Complex under the direction of CPRA and the Terrebonne Levee District. Our design consultants were able to optimize the Corps’ design of the Lock Complex to provide significant cost savings and a reduction of wetland impacts. The Lock Complex is a perfect example of why we created CPRA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; a true integration of coastal restoration and hurricane protection.”
Construction of the Grand Bayou Floodgate was funded by $18.5 million in Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funds and $1.5 million in capital outlay funds. The project is a collaborative effort of CPRA with the South Lafourche Levee District, North Lafourche Levee District, Lafourche Parish Government, Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government, and Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District. 

“The completion of the Grand Bayou Reggie Bagala Floodgate closes the most efficient path for storm surge waters to enter eastern Terrebonne and North Lafourche east of the Bayou Lafourche Ridge,” South Lafourche Levee District General Manager Windell Curole said. “The commencement of the Lock on the Houma Navigation Canal will lead to flood control with improved navigation and environmental enhancements.”

Col. Stephen Murphy, commander, New Orleans District, USACE, applauded the collaboration between CPRA, the parish governments, and the levee districts. 

“The value of the Morganza to the Gulf system is undeniable as we’ve seen how it’s performed so well during the last two hurricane seasons,” Col. Murphy said. “The State, levee districts, and parishes are to be commended on all the great work they have accomplished and the Corps looks forward increasing our role in this partnership as we advance construction on this critical infrastructure together.”

Elected officials from south central Louisiana, including State Sen. Mike Fesi, State Sen. Bret Allain, State Rep. Beryl Amedee, State Rep. Tanner Magee, and State. Rep. Joseph Orgeron, joined the Governor in celebrating the completion of the floodgate and the start of construction on the HNC Lock. 

“Today is a great day for Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes,” Fesi said. “It marks significant progress on two important components of Morganza to the Gulf, a system that not only provides us with improved hurricane protection, but helps to conserve the ecosystem and salinity level of our vital marshland.”

“The continued progress on the Morganza to the Gulf system is always welcomed news for Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes,” Allain said. “These projects ensure the long-term viability of our coastal communities, and as Chairman of the Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee, I have fully supported all capital outlay requests concerning this project – it is that important to the people and businesses of our area.”

“Rep. Bagala was my seatmate on the House Floor. At the time of his passing, we had only worked together for a short time, but it was already obvious that Reggie had a great love for God, family, coastal Louisiana, and the LSU Tigers,” Amedee said. “It’s comforting to know that by dedicating the Grand Bayou Floodgate in Rep. Bagala’s memory, future generations might come to love our coast with his same passion. I am certain he would share the same excitement as I do for the added protection and preservation the Grand Bayou Floodgate and the HNC Lock will bring to our area, ecosystem and economy.”

“This is another important step in flood protection for all of Louisiana,” Magee said. “I’m happy that Rep. Bagala’s name will be associated with it because protecting the people of South Louisiana from flooding was his passion.”

“It is an honor to be involved in the dedication of the Grand Bayou Floodgate to my predecessor, Rep. Reggie Bagala,” Orgeron said. “Having been newly-elected at the onset of the construction process, I was amazed to see first-hand how our state entities, like CPRA, and the three levee districts worked in concert with one another to quickly provide this substantial flood protection and coastal resiliency for the people of South Louisiana.”

Sealevel Construction, Inc., headquartered in Thibodaux, won the competitively bid dredging contract for the lock site, as well as the contract for construction of the Grand Bayou Floodgate and Receiving Structure.

For more information about the HNC Lock Complex, click here. For more information about the Grand Bayou Floodgate, click here

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