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5-part project to ease New Orleans’ flooding (Engineering News-Record)

March 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Articles and Features

ENR Corps Flooding projectIn a city that sits below sea level and is surrounded by water, drainage projects can be complex and crucial undertakings. Now more than halfway complete, the Pump to the River project will improve drainage in part of New Orleans by increasing capacity and shortening the distance to the basin.

Designed and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the project spans almost two miles and is broken up into five contracts, each with different general contractors. Discovery of subsurface material, the design of a complex siphoning system and coordination with local businesses have proven difficult, but the project is still on schedule.

Five ‘Big Easy’ Pieces

The $100-million project aims to improve drainage in the New Orleans suburbs of River Ridge and Harahan. Kazem Alikhani, director of the Jefferson Parish Public Works, says the idea for the project arose following a May 1995 flood that overwhelmed the canals and flooded thousands of homes. Post-disaster investigations found that pumping from River Ridge and Harahan to the Mississippi River instead of to Lake Pontchartrain could dramatically improve drainage.

The Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) was founded in 1996 as a result of the disaster with the aim of completing more than 50 flood-control projects by 2017. As one of those projects, Pump to the River will cut three miles off the distance water has to travel, thus reducing volume and easing flows in the Soniat Canal. “The new [route] will tremendously lower the stage of the Soniat Canal and will significantly improve drainage in the Harahan and River Ridge area,” says Alikhani. “It will be a big improvement for flood protection in the area.”

Read the full article by Craig Guillot in Engineering News-Record.

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