ST. GABRIEL, La. (BRPROUD) — A key road connecting Iberville and Ascension parishes is now open after a year of construction because of flood issues.

“I used that road to go to work every day, and I’m having to bypass that road to take the long route to my job at a chemical plant,” said Ascension Parish resident John Moss.

Residents like Moss used Alligator Bayou Road to travel between Iberville and Ascension parishes. However, for the past year, it’s been closed.

“Almost a year ago, there was an extreme weather occurrence where there was flooding and Alligator Bayou Road needed to be cut,” said Ascension Parish Communication Director Brandon Gatlin.

Gatlin said because of the pandemic, it took a little longer to complete the project.

“The pandemic has created shortages and holdups in materials and transportation issues, but we have still accomplished our goal and got this built and it is in place,” he said.

The road is now back open with new upgrades.

“People are able to travel up and down the road. I know our residents are super happy,” said Gatlin.

“I’m pretty excited. I’m taking some pictures to show my wife and kids that it looks like we’re going to save some time now that we have a road,” said Ascension Parish resident Todd Litten.

“With the new lock system, it should be able to relieve the water pressure off of Bluff Road immensely,” added Moss.

The reasons for the shutdown were because water flooding nearby residencies and the road itself since at least 2016.

“I’ve seen it flood so bad, too. You couldn’t even come back here,” said Isaiah Simmons, a man who worked on the fencing for the new structure on Alligator Bayou Road.

“Now that we have this structure, we’re able to open it and allow the water to dissipate. It’ll flow out and it’ll flow out across the fish bayou into Bayou Manchac, which will allow the levels over in Bluff Swamp, Spanish Lake basins to lower,” Gatlin explained.

“Now they feel a little bit safer, especially with hurricane season coming up. We got the new dam and the road opened up. Hopefully, it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do and keep everybody’s houses safe from flooding,” added Simmons.

And residents are hopeful it will help save everyone some time.

“It’s been taking me about 40 minutes to get around to the house, getting ready to time it right now. I think it’s probably 10 or 15 minutes from my work now,” Simmons explained.

The $3.5 million project was funded by the Pontchartrain Levee Board and the East Ascension Drainage Board.