$35.8-Million Contract Awarded To Build New Lock On Gulf Waterway

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $35.8-million contract to Williams Brothers Construction Company, Inc. of Houston, Texas, to construct a new lock on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, according to Col. Robert C. Lee. district engineer of the Corps' New Orleans District.

A groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the new lock replacing the 48-year-old Vermilion Lock was held recently at the existing lock, located about 15 miles southwest of Abbeville.

The ceremony was sponsored by the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association, the Vermilion Parish Police Jury, and the Louisiana Intracoastal Seaway Association.

The new lock will be built slightly south and to the west of the existing structure. The purpose of a lock is to prevent salt water that enters the GIWW from the Gulf of Mexico from intruding into the Mermentau River basin. Fresh water from the Mermentau basin is needed for irrigation and for game management areas.

The new lock will be 110 feet wide, 1,200 feet long, and 15 feet deep at the sill. The dimensions of the existing lock are 56 feet wide, 1,182 feet long, and 11.3 feet deep. The new structure will have standard sector gates, reportedly more efficient and sturdier than the hinged gates of the old lock, which has become a hindrance to efficient passage of traffic because of its size and the difficulty of repairing and replacing damaged parts after accidents.

The construction contract calls for channel excavation, replacement of the bridge across Bayou Chene, an access road, administration buildings, and a visitors' stand.

In related Corps news, the 37- mile-long stretch of the GIWW between the Vermilion and Mermentau Rivers in southwest Louisiana will be restored to its design depth of 15 feet, under terms of a $2,569,500 maintenance dredging contract signed recently between the Corps and Mike Hooks, Inc. of Lake Charles, La.

The contractor will take almost seven months to remove some 3,825,000 cubic yards of shoal material from the heavily used east-west waterway.

Other stories from October 15, 1981 issue


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