Full protection by 2026: Corps of Engineers releases preliminary levee construction schedule

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, September 7, 2022

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LAPLACE — While levees will be built to heights of approximately six feet by 2024, the newest stakeholder update from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identifies 2026 as the completion date for the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee Project.

According to the preliminary levee construction schedule, gaps will still exist by flood gates, flood walls, drainage structures and pump stations through 2026.

According to the Corps of Engineers, the goal for 2023 is to construct a three-foot sand base and begin levee construction. Sections of the levee will be built to heights around six feet by the end of 2024. In 2025, the elevation is expected to increase to +6.6 feet to +12.5 feet, depending on location. The levee will be built to its full height in 2026.

The levee construction has been divided into several contracts, with each having its own goal for completed elevation. Levee sections on the western end of the alignment near Hope Canal are estimated to reach a total height of approximately 8.5 feet. This includes contracts 109 and 110, which should be built to full elevation by 2024.

Sections in the middle and eastern end of the alignment will require additional construction in 2025 and 2026 and will be built to higher elevations. Sections 102 and 103 will reach the highest elevations of approximately 14 feet. Section 102 is located near the Montz Canal drainage structure, while 103 is located by the Highway 51 swing gate and the Frenier Road ramp.

Section 101a, located closest to the Bonnet Carre Spillway, should reach its full elevation of about 12.5 feet in 2025.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers previously identified 2024 as the completion date for the West Shore Levee Project. Earlier this year, an additional $450 million was allocated to the project, which was previously considered fully federally funded at $760 million in 2018. According to U.S. Congressman Garret Graves, this additional funding accounts for inflation as well as the implementation of additional resiliency features in the levee alignment. Graves predicted that while a level of protection would be in place by 2024, the addition of resiliency features would likely extend the overall timeline for the project

An additional $3 million was allocated for a West Shore Levee Re-Evaluation Report focused on considering resiliency opportunities, and the outcome of this report will determine how the $450 million will be utilized. As of the August 31 stakeholder update from the U.S. Amy Corps of Engineers, the plan is to execute a feasibility cost-share agreement with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in the fourth quarter of 2022.

More information about the West Shore Levee can be found at https://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/ or on the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain – New Orleans, USACE Facebook page.