NEW ORLEANS – The Bonnet Carre Spillway is set to open on Thursday for about three weeks due to the Mississippi River cresting.

The Army Corps of Engineers says that 10 bays will be opening. The goal is to keep the water around 17 feet, which is the flood stage for New Orleans.

As of Tuesday night, the water is currently 14.7 feet in New Orleans. The levees protect the city to river level of 20 feet.

Once the Spillway is open the water will move to Lake Pontchartrain. Once the water enters the lake, saltwater species are forced east and the lake becomes more of a freshwater body. Additionally, freshwater promotes algae bloom which will create silt that resurges the lake, which is a positive factor long-term.

The Spillway opened previously in 1937, 1945, 1950, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1983, 1997, 2008, 2011, and 2016. The longest time the Spillway was opened for 75 days in 1973, with 350 bays open.