NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers says it will soon close the final bays of a major spillway in south Louisiana that serves as a relief valve for the rain-swollen Mississippi River.

WDSU-TV reports that the corps announced recently that the final bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway are to be closed by Monday afternoon. Crews began closing the more than 200 bays last Monday.

The spillway is located upriver from New Orleans. It was opened Jan. 10 to divert water out of the swollen Mississippi River and into nearby Lake Pontchartrain.

Water levels along the river are now falling and officials say this is allowing the corps to close the spillway. Officials say the gradual closing process will help maintain a proper balance between lake and river water levels.

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