Corps of Engineers provides levee construction update

Published 3:15 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

LAPLACE — A public update meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 19 to keep St. John the Baptist Parish residents abreast of the progress of the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee Project.

With all access roads complete as of June 2023, the project is moving full steam ahead into the construction phase. All remaining construction contracts for levee reaches are projected to be awarded before the end of 2023, according to Project Manager Patrick Baudoin’s June 30 stakeholder update.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has shared a tentative delivery plan for the remaining contracts. The 17.5-mile levee alignment is divided into 13 reaches, each with its own construction contract. Several additional contracts have already been awarded, and many completed, for prep work leading up to the levee such as the construction of nine access roads, sand/clay stockpiling, and sand placement to create a 3-foot levee base. One clay stockpiling contract remains open, averaging 2,000 cubic yards per day after meeting some delays due to high levels of the Mississippi River. Pile load testing is underway at the Highway 51 and Reserve relief sites.

St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard met with Col. Cullen Jones, commander and district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District, this past spring to discuss drainage modeling related to the levee. A follow-up meeting is planned for this month. St. James Parish President Pete Dufresne also recently met with Col. Jones. Surveys and borings have been completed for St. James Parish flood protection structures.

Construction status

The first levee construction contract, WSLP-110, near Garyville, was awarded in December 2022. As of early July, clearing, grubbing and burning is still underway in this reach, and the canal crossing is under construction. Clearing and grubbing started in June for Reach 107, which is located north of Reserve.

The most recent construction contract award took place at the end of April for reach 101a near the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Mobilization is expected to begin soon.

Building upon the 3-foot sand base, the levee will reach heights of approximately 6 feet in 2024. By 2025, the various reaches will range from 6.6 feet to 12.5 feet. All gaps between flood gates, floodwalls, drainage structures and pump stations will be closed once the levee reaches its full height in 2026.

Efforts are being made to design the projects western and eastern ends efficiently to correspond with the  Maurepas Diversion project.

The tentative contract award schedule for remaining levee reaches is listed below. Reaches are displayed in order from the easternmost end of the alignment near St. Charles Parish to the westernmost end near St. James Parish.

North of LaPlace

  • WSLP 102 – Q3 2023
  • WSLP 103 –  Q4 2023
  • WSLP 104 –  Q3 2023
  • WSLP 105 – Q3 2023

North of Reserve

  • WSLP 106 – Q3 2023

North of Garyville

  • WSLP 108 – Q3 2023
  • WSLP 109 – Q4 2023

West of Garyville

  • WSLP 111 – Q3 2023
  • WSLP 112– Q3 2023
  • WSLP 113 – Q3 2023
  • WSLP 114. (Pump stations)– Q4 2023
  • WSLP 114a (Hope and Prescott drainage structures)– Q3 2023