American Society of Civil Engineers

Design and Construction of the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier in Response to Hurricane Katrina

by Scott R. Huntsman, Ph.D., P.E., G.E., F.ASCE, (Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group, 4005 Port Chicago Highway, Concord, CA 94520-1122. E-mail:
Section: Case Histories of Coastal Projects, pp. 117-130, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Coastal Engineering Practice
Abstract: Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began to design and construct the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) for Southeast Louisiana. A key feature of the HSDRRS is the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Lake Borgne Surge Barrier. The surge barrier is part of a larger program designed to provide a 100-year level of defense to a large portion of Orleans and St. Bernard parishes by reducing the effect of storm surge coming from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Borgne. The 10,000-foot (3050-meter) long, 26-foot (8-meter) high surge barrier includes three gate structures and a barrier wall. The project is being constructed approximately eight miles (13 kilometers) east of downtown New Orleans, near the confluence of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). The entire barrier and all three gates are currently scheduled to be functional by June 2011. This paper presents a description of challenges encountered by the design-build team, integration of design, procurement, and construction to meet an accelerated schedule and some of the unique methods used to construct the project.

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