Forensic Investigations Get to the Facts: East Side IHNC Flood Wall Breaches during Hurricane Katrina

by W. Allen Marr, P.E., Ph.D., (F.ASCE), Founder and CEO of Geocomp Corp in Acton, MA.

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2018, Vol. 22, Issue 4, Pg. 34-38, 40

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: East Side IHNC Flood Wall Breaches during Hurricane Katrina. I served as a geotechnical expert for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) supporting the defense of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) against alleged professional negligence in its design of the flood walls for the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC). A group of attorneys representing individuals affected by the levee failures launched a lawsuit, as Plaintiffs, seeking tens of billions of dollars of restitution from the U.S. government. This article briefly describes the case and its outcome, focusing on the different theories of failure for two flood wall breaches and presenting my assessment of the failures based on additional investigations. (Editor’s note: The subsequent article by Pat Lucia beginning on p. 42 provides additional background and perspective about the flood wall breaches. Also see "Levee Failure Mechanisms," by Reed Mosher and Mike Duncan, in the January/February 2007 issue of GEOSTRATA.)

Subject Headings: Hurricanes, tornadoes, and cyclones | Dam failures | Failure analysis | Forensic engineering | Floods | Levees and dikes | Structural failures | Legal affairs


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