By Rachel Rodi
New Orleans District
NEW ORLEANS — Two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District projects took top honors at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) awards program in Washington, D.C., Apirl 18, 2012. The Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Surge Barrier project won the esteemed "Grand Conceptor Award" for the most outstanding engineering achievement. The IHNC Surge Barrier project was also distinguished as one of eight "Grand Award" winners and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) West Closure Complex (WCC) as one of sixteen "Honor Award" winners.
"These keystone projects are a critical part of the Corps' overall effort to reduce risk for the greater New Orleans area," said Col. Ed Fleming, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District Commander. "It is a great honor to have the efforts of our employees and contractors recognized by this prestigious organization," he added.
The ACEC award program, now in its 45th year, recognizes the year's most outstanding engineering accomplishments. Engineering projects from across the globe are rated in terms of uniqueness and innovation; future value to the engineering profession, as well as schedule and budget, etc.
The IHNC Surge Barrier and GIWW WCC projects are part of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane & Storm Damage Risk Reduction, which reduces the risk of flooding from a storm surge that has a once percent chance of occurring in any given year.
The 1.8-mile-long IHNC Surge Barrier is located at the confluence of the GIWW and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), about 12 miles east of downtown New Orleans. The project reduces the risk for some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina, including New Orleans East, metro New Orleans, Gentilly, the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. The total construction value for the IHNC Surge Barrier is an estimated $1.1 billion.
The WCC is located approximately one half mile south of the confluence of the Harvey and Algiers canals on the GIWW, and significantly reduces the risk to a large area of the west bank by removing 26 miles of levees, floodwalls, a gate, and pumping stations along the Harvey and Algiers canals from the direct impacts of storm surge. The total construction value for the WCC is an estimated $1 billion.