Army's Chief of Staff visits major Corps project
August 17, 2010
On Aug. 3, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army, visited one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) major projects -- the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal-Lake Borgne Surge Barrier.
Casey was in town for a National Guard Bureau conference and training workshop. Earlier in the day, the four-star general spoke at a World Affairs Council of New Orleans luncheon about his strategic vision for the future of the Army.
Following his address at the World War II Museum, Casey and his wife joined Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, at the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, accompanied by Col. Robert Sinkler, commander, Hurricane Protection Office, and Lt. Col. Mark Jernigan, deputy commander, New Orleans District. While standing on the 12-foot wide 25-foot high surge barrier, Casey met many Corps employees who have contributed to this project and others around the HSDRRS.
"I am honored to have the Chief of Staff of the Army visit a Corps civil works project and see the progress we are making on the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) here in New Orleans," said Col. Robert Sinkler.
During the visit to the surge barrier project, Walsh briefed Casey on how the Corps is using the overall resources of the entire Mississippi Valley Division and other Corps expertise across the nation to deliver this essential system to the citizens of greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana, and deliver on our commitment to provide 100-year risk reduction in 2011.
But even beyond this internal effort, the Corps is leveraging the knowledge and capability of its partners in industry, architect-engineer firms, members of academia and international counterparts to develop and apply state-of-the-practice engineering solutions to the greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System and across coastal Louisiana.
The nearly two-mile-long surge barrier, which stretches across the confluence of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, will operate in tandem with the soon-to-be constructed Seabrook Floodgate Complex to provide 100-year risk reduction for some of the region's most vulnerable areas, including New Orleans East, metro New Orleans, Gentilly, the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish.
The project includes a concrete pile-supported wall with concrete cap across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, and three gated structures. The Corps' largest-ever design-build civil works construction contract drove its first pile in May 2009 and after just 15 months of construction, the project is now 75 percent complete.
The project includes navigational safety features and added nourishment of 705 acres of marsh during its construction to meet Louisiana Coastal Zone Management standards.