National Guard exercise to close Spillway areas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 31, 2012

LAPLACE – A Louisiana National Guard disaster response training exercise in the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish today will force the closure of portions of the spillway recreation areas, according to a release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans office.

Beginning at 7 a.m., the all-terrain vehicle riding area, the parish recreation area, the boat launch beneath I-10 near the lower guide levee and the Wetland Watchers Park will all close to the public for most of the day. The areas will reopen at the conclusion of the exercise, which is scheduled for late this afternoon. No specific time has been set.

Today’s event marks the first time in three years the corps has organized the Disaster Response Exercise in the spillway. According to the release, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 and the operation of the spillway flood control structure disrupted scheduled exercises in those years.

The National Guard, in conjunction with a host of other state agencies, conducts the exercise so the state can prepare for any potential hurricanes or other emergencies with mock search-and-rescue operations, emergency infrastructure repair and construction exercises and sandbag placement operations.

The public will be allowed to view the exercise within a designated area near Airline Highway.