(Photo courtesy of Lane Lesort/USACE)


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says construction of interim closure gates and bypass pumps on two of the three outfall canals in New Orleans will miss the target completion date of June 1, the start of hurricane season. They will not be finished until mid-to-late June. The emergency closures are designed to keep a storm surge from moving into the battered outfall canals that lead deep into the city. Tight site conditions at the 17th Street Canal are forcing pump installation originally scheduled to run concurrently with other work to be sequenced. On the other delayed site, at London Ave. Canal, gate builders have run into difficulties. “We had some problems with the installation of the sill that holds the gate, so we had to step back and re-do it,” says Col. Lewis Setliff III, commander of Task Force Guardian, whose mission is to restore the hurricane protection levee system to pre-Katrina levels. “We had difficulty driving the sheet pile, which brou ght the integrity of the structure into question, so we pulled it out and started again.” Work on the third set of gates, at the Orleans Ave. Canal, is on schedule.