Spring Bayou gates 'pass test' in first opening in decades

Debris cleared in channel, around structure

Until last week, the Little River Control Structure gates had not been opened in over 20 years. The channel in front of the gates had silted up and there was vegetation, overgrowth and debris around the structure.

The Avoyelles Parish Lake Commission had requested the Police Jury clean that area and open the gates to ensure they were in working condition should they ever be needed.

On Oct. 1, employees of the Police Jury and the Red River-Atchafalaya-Bayou Boeuf Levee Board did just that.

“Not only did you open those gates,” Police Jury President Charles Jones said at the Oct. 3 Police Jury agenda-setting meeting, “you were also able to close them.

“I was worried you were going to drain my favorite bream spot,” he added with a laugh.

Jones was only half-joking. There had been some concern that if the gates could be opened that they might break and be unable to close, sending the 40 feet of water behind the dam rushing into Spring Bayou.

RABB had “supersacks” -- very large sandbags -- on standby to plug the gates in the event of a “catastrophic failure” of the gates.

Parish and Levee Board employees worked on the structure itself and opened the gates. The Police Jury paid a local, private contractor $2,500 for the clean-up project.

Jurors decided that a maintenance schedule will be established to ensure the gates are tested once a year.

That test will probably occur during high-water periods to “flush” the channel on both sides of the gates.

The Little River structure was built to hold water in the Spring Bayou area year round.

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