A proposal by the Army Corps of Engineers to expand the navigation lock on the Industrial Canal and replace the St. Claude Avenue bridge is drawing fire from state Senator J.P. Morrell who calls it "a bad idea."
A public meeting on the proposal will be held tonight at 6 p.m. at the community center at 1616 Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward. A second meeting will be held February 23 at the St. Bernard Parish Government Complex in Chalmette.
“The Corps has visited and revisited this bad idea for years," Morrell said in a statement released by his office.
"The Industrial Canal, with the closing of MRGO, has seen a tremendous drop in activity. This plan was a bad idea when there were actual shipyards using it, and it's an even worse idea now. The St. Claude Bridge connects the Upper and Lower 9th wards, two unique and valuable communities with tremendous shared heritage. I vehemently oppose this proposal and will work with stakeholders to oppose it," Morrell added.
The Corps contends that traffic on the Canal has slowed because the lock, built in 1923, is inadequate to handle modern shipping vessels.
The current lock is 640 feet long and 75 feet wide. The Corps is proposing a lock that would be 900 feet long and 110 feet wide.