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Louisiana officials cut through road to relieve flooding

By Andrew V. Pestano

BATON ROUGE, La., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Louisiana authorities on Tuesday cut through and dug a 1-foot-deep hole in Alligator Bayou Road to relieve flooding in Ascension and Iberville parishes.

The 1-foot deep, 40-foot-wide cut through the road allowed high floodwaters from last week's historic storm and additional backwater flooding to escape. Alligator Bayou Road separates the Spanish Lake Basin from the Bayou Manchac. Decreasing high waters in the basin have relieved flooding that damaged homes.

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Ascension parish officials on Sunday said they expected to cut the road when the water level in Bayou Manchac dropped two feet, which was expected to happen on Wednesday or Thursday, but officials decided to move forward with the plan on Tuesday after bayou water fell one foot.

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"Ideally, I was waiting for two feet, but once we started prepping this morning, I said, 'Hell, a foot's a foot.' I mean whatever we can let out while it's going down," Ascension Parish Director of Public Works Bill Roux said Tuesday.

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Officials have said it could take months to drain away the immense amount of water in the basin but the cut in Alligator Bayou Road, which served as a kind of levee between the basin and bayou, has helped relieve some flooding.

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"It's helping. I can see it going down in the front yard," Troy Morgan, who lives near the road cut, told The Advocate. "I got some people coming to help gut the house, but we're not going in until the water's out, 'cause it's sitting and getting nasty."

The Ascension Parish Government released drone footage of the road-cutting operation.

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