Spillway proves dangerous

The Bonnet Carré Spillway is still not open completely to the public, and Spillway Operations Manager Chris Brantley cautions residents to take the barricades seriously.

“The entire spillway is not set to open until May 20,” Brantley said. “We had a truck that went past the barricade on the Airline Highway side of the spillway near the river, and the driver got the vehicle stuck  in water because he drove around our road closure.”

Brantley said the driver went around the barricade and had to call a tow truck to get his vehicle out.
“Luckily, he wasn’t hurt,” he said. “This isn’t the first time we’ve had vehicles sink in the spillway.”
Brantley says the truck was fairly new so it will probably be a total loss.

“Most vehicles have electronic systems,” he said. “Once they sink into that amount of water they’re ruined.”
Brantley also cautions children to beware of culverts in the spillway because of an accident where a child stepped off of the flooded roadway a few years ago and got sucked into a culvert.

“A culvert is a pipe underwater and you can’t see it,” he said. “There was a child a couple of years ago who slipped into one of these culverts. Luckily, the water forced him out onto the other side and he survived.”

Brantley says there are only a few areas of the spillway currently open to the public and that St. Charles Highway 12 (SC 12) remains closed in both directions from Norco to Montz until further notice.

“The parish recreation area and all boat launches are currently open, along with the Norco levee side of the spillway,” he said.  “We were hoping that most of the water would be down by next week, but we are expecting some more rain.”

Brantley says that each day the water levels do appear to be subsiding.


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