Corps of Engineers hands out first million-dollar contract in 3/4 billion-dollar levee project

Published 12:23 am Saturday, May 18, 2019

LAPLACE — Quality First Construction LLC of Covington was awarded the first vegetation-clearing contract in the West Shore Levee Project.

The $3.06 million service contract, awarded Wednesday, was not part of a competitive bid process, according to Caitlin Campbell of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“A list of eligible contractors was provided by our small business office and a selection was made from that list based on certain criteria,” Campbell said.

The service contract is among the first steps in a five-year, $760 million levee construction process federally funded by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Funding was announced in July 2018 and locked in to the West Shore Levee project early this year.

Quality First Construction is expected to begin clearing the project area of vegetation and trees next month, according to a press release from the Corps of Engineers.

The six-month project allows crews to access the area to complete land surveys and collect soil boring that would be used to determine the final levee alignment and design plan.

The contract was awarded approximately one week later than what was projected by project manager Chris Gilmore earlier this month. However, the Corps of Engineers is still on track to begin tree clearing in June, with survey and soil boring set to begin approximately a month after survey work begins, according to Gilmore.

Gilmore said vegetation clearing is divided into two halves to cover the 18.5-mile levee alignment, with a second service contract to be awarded in mid-July.

He said the second vegetation contract and survey work are expected to operate on six-month timelines.

As survey results are finished in designated levee segments, design work is expected to begin in the fall and last approximately 10 months. Locations for pump stations, drainage structures, floodwalls, floodgates and potential railroad relocations will be determined at this stage.

The newest Corps of Engineers release cites a mid-2020 timeline for the first construction contract, as compared to the early 2020 projection cited earlier this year.

Construction would involve between 15 and 20 contracts, and there are plans to host meetings to get St. John Parish contractors involved.

Gilmore told L’OBSERVATEUR construction would be handled in segments, with the last portion reaching a 2024 completion.

For more information on the West Shore Levee project, call 877-427-0345, follow West Shore Lake Pontchartrain on Facebook and Team New Orleans on Twitter, or visit