Photos show West Shore Levee construction progress

Published 5:14 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023

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LAPLACE — For several years, planning for the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee project took place behind the scenes, first through legislation, and later through securing right-of-way, clearing trees, and stockpiling clay. With construction now underway, residents are beginning to see the impact of the federally-funded project, now estimated by the Corps of Engineers to cost $3.7 billion.

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 was recently completed at the Prescott and I-55 sites and is still underway at the Reserve relief site.

The first levee construction contract, WSLP-110, near Garyville, was awarded in December 2022. As of early August, clearing, grubbing and burning is still underway in this reach, and sand fill is being placed. An access road has been completed. Clearing and grubbing is also underway for Reach 107, north of Reserve, which was awarded in March. The canal crossing for Reach 107 is nearing completion, and a bypass channel is under construction.

The most recent construction contract award took place at the end of April for reach 101a near the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Mobilization began in July.

Several contracts are targeted to be awarded this month, including the WSLP-106 I-10 Westernmost Crossing, WSLP-108 Levee and Mississippi Bayou Drainage Structures, WSLP-102 I-10 Easternmost Crossing P&S, and WSLP-104 Levee and Pipeline Crossing.

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.