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Progress Made On HSDRRS
September 16, 2010

To prevent storm surge from entering the canal, a gated steel closure structure was built at the Lake Pontchartrain entrance to each canal. The gated structures stay open during normal conditions. When storm surge threatens to exceed the safe water level in a canal, the Corps closes the gates and turns on the pumps. Pumps push rainwater around the closed gates and into Lake Pontchartrain. The closed gates prevent surge from entering the canals and going back into the city. When the surge recedes, the Corps reopens the gates and normal drainage resumes. These gated structures are considered "interim protection." Permanent structures will replace them in the near future. Interim structures were necessary to provide risk reduction in time for the 2006 hurricane season. (USACE graphic illustration)
According to information available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, since hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast five years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made significant progress on New Orleans’ Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, or HSDRRS. In collaboration with the State of Louisiana, levee authorities, local governments, academia, industry and the public, the work continues at a rapid pace and the Corps remains committed to providing 100-year perimeter protection to the greater New Orleans area by June 1st, 2011. Over 276 contracts have been awarded and over $9 billion obligated for the program. Current obligations include over $2 billion directly to small and disadvantaged businesses, representing close to 30 percent of all contract obligations.

Immediately following the terrible tragedy that devastated the Gulf Coast region, employees of Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lined up at the district’s emergency management office to volunteer to assist in the Corps’ recovery efforts. Since 2005, more than 70 district employees have voluntarily deployed to the Gulf Coast region in support of the Corps’ recovery efforts and ongoing hurricane and storm damage risk reduction work.

The HSDRRS is now more than one-third complete: 65 of 69 100-year contracts in the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity project have been awarded; 36 of 39 100-year contracts in the West Bank and Vicinity projects have been awarded; and 12 of 35 contracts have been awarded for Southeast Louisiana work.

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