The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is in the process of doling out large contracts to repair and strengthen flood control infrastructure in New Orleans and the vicinity.
The contracts are being awarded under the Hurricane & Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS – formerly the Hurricane Protection System). USACE has developed an interactive map with the status of all of the projects under this program in the New Orleans area.
The USACE expects to complete construction under the HSDRRS in 2011.
One of the areas that USACE is focusing on is Lake Pontchartrain, a 630-square-mile shallow, brackish lagoon, with the city of New Orleans located along its southern shore.
According to a US Environment Protection Agency report [PDF], Lake Ponchartrain suffered dual assaults from Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 storm that hit New Orleans on Aug 29/05, with the eyewall passing along the eastern edge of the lake:
“Not only was Lake Pontchartrain’s delicate ecosystem subjected to nature’s fury–Katrina packed 135-mi/hour (217-km/hour) winds and a 20-30-ft (6-9-m) storm surge–the lake also faced an additional challenge by becoming the primary dumping ground for the flood waters that lingered throughout New Orleans during the 3-week period following Katrina.
New Orleans and the surrounding area are situated in a bowllike depression that lies typically 4-12 ft (1.3-3.7 m) below sea level. A network of levees and seawalls protect the city from nominal flooding, and an intricate system of large pumps evacuates accumulated rainfall from even normal storm events. The protective levees held during the initial landfall of Katrina; however, after 12-24 hours of continuous stress from the elevated water level, breaches occurred at several locations, most dramatically at the Metairie Outfall Canal (popularly known as the 17th Street Canal) and the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (popularly known as the Industrial Canal).
The storm-driven water rapidly poured through the breaches, filling the natural basin of Orleans Parish and adjacent St. Bernard Parish with resultant flood waters that reached heights of 4-12 ft (1.2-3.7 m). While the pumping system was being repaired, these areas remained flooded for up to 2 weeks. The city’s sewage, stores of industrial and agricultural chemicals, petrochemicals, medical wastes, pharmaceuticals, food stocks, and even the remains of humans and domestic pets were all enveloped in the stagnant water, creating a cesspool of biological and chemical contaminants.
When the pumps were finally reactivated, the bulk of contaminated water from the city was jettisoned for many days directly into the southern portion of Lake Pontchartrain with a discharge estimated at 2-3 percent of the volume of the lake, or approximately 30-50 billion gallons (100-200 billion liters).”
Contracts and Awards
Work will be performed in Jefferson and Orleans Parish, LA, with an estimated completion date of Sep 30/14. Bids were solicited through the Internet with 7 bids received by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Contracting Division, New Orleans, LA (W912P8-11-C-0035).
April 5/10: Archer-Western Contractor in Arlington, TX won an $112.2 million firm-fixed-price construction contract for Lake Pontchartrain and vicinity, which includes levee enlargement for South Point to CSX railroad, and US 11 and US 90 highway crossing, Reach LPV 109.02, in Orleans Parish, LA.
Work is to be performed in Orleans Parish, LA with an estimated completion date of June 6/11. Bids were solicited via FedBizOpps and Army Single Face to Industry web sites, with 7 bids received by the US Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans, LA (W912P8-10-C-0059).
Nov 6/09: Kiewit Louisiana Co. in Fort Worth, TX received a $195 million contract to upgrade 4 pump stations on the east bank of Lake Pontchartrain in Jefferson Parish, LA. The company will build fronting protection at the Duncan, Elmwood, Suburban, and Bonnabel pump stations to protect the stations from storm surge and associated waves, as well as to prevent any water from backflowing through the pump stations.
Kiewit will build T-walls in front of the pump stations and extension of the pump discharge tubes through the floodwalls, as well as valves to prevent any water from backflowing through the pumps. The fronting protection floodwalls will tie into the existing levees on either side of the pump stations.
Kiewit expects to complete construction on the Elmwood and Suburban pump stations by June 2011, and construction on the Duncan and Bonnabel pump stations by the summer of 2013. The breakwaters currently being built will provide the 100-year level of risk reduction in the interim. Bids for this project were solicited on the web with 6 bids received by the USACE New Orleans District, LA (W912P8-10-C-0007).
Sept 28/09: Odebrecht-Baker in Coral Gables, FL won a $278.8 million construction contract for levee improvements to the Chalmette Loop from Verret to Caernarvon in St. Bernard Parish, LA. Under this contract, Odebrecht-Baker will build a floodwall along the Chalmette Loop.
The contract includes two subsequent options which, when awarded, would account for the majority of the $278.8 million in construction costs. Those options include constructing 8.5 miles of new floodwall to an elevation between 27 and, in some places, 32 feet that would tie into the Highway 46 and Bayou Road Floodgate on the west and Verret to Caernarvon structures on the east. Additionally, new fronting protection would be constructed to elevation 32 feet at St. Mary’s Pump Station.
The contractor expects to complete the work by June 1/11. Bids were solicited via FedBizOpps and ASFI with 5 bids received by the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Hurricane Protection Office (W912P8-09-C-0113).
Aug 5/09: Tetra Tech EC in Norcross, GA won a $33.3 million, 18-month firm-fixed-price contract to build a hurricane risk reduction floodwall and five floodgates in the Lake Ponchartrain area of New Orleans, LA.
Under the contract, Tetra-Tech EC will demolish and rebuild a floodwall and gates, drive piling, build earthwork to upgrade levees that reach from the 17th Street Canal to Topaz Street along the lakefront, and upgrade roadwork and utility installations. Bids were solicited on the web with 4 bids received by the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Hurricane Protection Office in New Orleans (W912P8-09-C-0077).