The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractors building a $695-million storm surge barrier in New Orleans are wrangling with the U.S. Coast Guard over an evacuation plan for heavy equipment that neither stymies construction nor risks damage to levees and floodwalls from storm-tossed vessels if a hurricane comes in. The Coast Guard is demanding the armada of floating equipment now at work on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lake Borgne Storm Surge Barrier clear the area if a storm threatens. Typically, many tropical storms pass within a five-day run of the city during a hurricane season. This year, that would trigger an order to pull out the fleet.
The barrier is to be operational by June 2011. There are now about 25 cranes and 60 barges on-site, with more expected by summer’s end.