New Orleans sits smack dab between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain, and when a hurricane comes rolling in, those bodies of water tend to spill into the streets. This summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started construction on a barrier that can block a 16-foot swell blown in from the Gulf and a massive pumping station that will blast floodwaters back to sea.
The $500-million station—the newest installment of a $14-billion federal project to fortify the Big Easy against the type of fierce storm the city sees once in 100 years—will protect the 240,000 residents living in New Orleans, a high-risk flood area because of its nearby shipping canals. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is one of the city's most trafficked industrial waterways, but it provides a perfect path from the Gulf for a 16-foot storm surge to flood homes and businesses. When a major storm threatens, the waterway's new West Closure Complex will mount a two-point defense. First, operators will shut the 32-foot-tall, 225-foot-wide metal gates to block the surge. Then they'll fire up the world's largest pumping station, which pulls 150,000 gallons of floodwater per second. And unlike the city's notorious levees, the WCC won't break when residents need it most. "This station is designed to withstand almost everything," including 140mph winds and runaway barges, says Tim Connell, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers's project manager for the complex.
Army engineers will bring the gates and pumps online as they go, with the goal of wrapping up construction by 2011—provided there are no interruptions, says Dennis Kamber, a senior technical adviser on the project: "We have our fingers crossed that Mother Nature will be kind to us this year."
I've got a simpler solution... DON'T LIVE BELOW SEA LEVEL.
while it is a much more intelligent suggestion squanto my friend, apparently there isnt time for a rational solution. I mean after all the government that was so inept at taking care of New Orleans flood victims must feel very guilty to spend that much cash. I swear give a politican a dime and he will find the stupidest way to spend it.
I will never understand why people knowingly live and build on known fault lines, along the banks of the Mississippi river, right below active volcanoes and below sea level.
Ahhhh, if only such a place existed that had all of those lovely qualities......I bet it would be the priciest terrain on the planet.
well for starters people began settling in these areas due to the limitations of their technology, resources, transportation, and agricultural techniques. It is also generally convenient to live right next to the ocean, along the banks of a major river which provides transportation, ample fertile land, and and abundance of aquatic resources.
Although I agree that building below sea level, i.e. New Orleans, is an incredibly stupid idea; the more ignorant or stupid idea was to actually say "screw it" and CONTINUE to live there, trying desperately to prop-up the area by building levees, dams, sea-walls, etc.
They just didn't do it right the first, 2nd, or 100th time around.
A good lesson in building below the line would be the Dutch. They reclaimed much of the land they prosper on today from the ocean; albeit their sea-wall is very fragile. Luckily they have the UK landmass to protect them.
I never cease to be amazed at how much Americans hate each other: I got mine so screw everyone else, don't live in California if you can't afford an earthquake, don't live in New Orleans if you can't afford a flood, don't live in Florida (or coastal Texas, Alabama, ...) if you can't afford a hurricane, if you can't afford $100,000 in medical bills then don't get in a car accident, ...
I'd wager that evacuating and cleaning up New Orleans so that it could be safely abandoned would cost a fair bit more than $14 billion. Also, that $14 billion isn't being buried in a whole in the ground, it is being spent on labor, materials, and engineers, it is being pumped into the whole US economy.
Americans have to learn how to live with and cooperate with each other before you tear your country apart. Again.
mu thank you for your insightful comment! I absolutely love to see one person caring for the well-being of another. We will get much farther as a people if we would all just do this one simple thing! I think this is a great idea (albeit a little late). If this helps to keep a scene like we saw after Hurricane Katrina hit from ever happening again, this is money well spent.
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
Battleshield, there are plenty of places like that such as the central US, New England, and basically anywhere that is not California or the South East United States. Yeah it may get a little colder during the winter but people should learn to sack up.
You sound like a socialist who actually believes government spending stimulates the economy. $14 billion pumped back into the American economy? Did you not read the entire report? It is a FEDERAL project. None of that money is going to any private contractors, much less any of their employees. It is being spent on bureaucrats in Washington, which, as we should all know by now, has no multiplier effect commonly associated with private spending. You would know this if you spent any time studying Glenn Beckonomics.
The project is not being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project is being built by two (2) private contractors, Kiewit and Traylor Brothers. Furthermore, the contractors have invited local small businesses for an information session to get involved themselves. More information on the project can be found here: http://westclosure.com/index.php
The more you know.
It's astonishing that Popular Science readers are so filled with hatred of New Orleans that their bias actually overcomes the their scientific interest. If we're going to start condemning people for living in engineered environments, then I guess we should stop pumping water into cities built in the desert? The next time Los Angeles or San Francisco get hit by an earthquake, we should abandon those cities? A bridge collapses in Minneapolis? We should abandon the effort to replace the bridge? A tornado strikes a town in the Midwest? We shouldn't rebuild? Think, people. You want us to send you your petrochemicals, and export your grains, but you don't want to rebuild the wetlands that the commerce you enjoy has destroyed. Nice. Is this America?
504 Crank, while its true no matter where you go natural disasters occur some of them are more commonplace than others. The thing that get aggrevating is when year after year there is money poured into the same areas as they get hit by the hurricanes they know are going to be coming year after year. If you want to live there, fine, try better windows or concrete houses. At least in California they are activly trying to retrofit the buildings and infrastructure to withstand the earthquakes. The bridge collapse in Minnesota was human error, a mistake that probably won't happen again with all the new inspections taking place. And the tornado's hit different areas and are much less predictable. Also, with the desert towns at least they will still be standing in 10 years barring the houses spontaniously combusting from the heat. It just seems wasteful to continue rebuilding along areas that get pummeled year after year
This is a very good idea. With this type of technology, we can probably protect all of our coastal cities. Just in case of any natural disaster.
240,000 people get
$500,000,000 pump and wall system
as part of a $14,000,000,000 program.
That is over $2000 in tax money, per person, for the pump and wall and over $28,000 in tax money, per person, for the entire program.
The average income, per person, in the US is well under $28,000.
This means that, considering the other services rendered from and obligations on taxes from the people of NO, they will not return that quantity of funds to the public federal tax pool within our lifetime.
Thus, other people, myself included, are recieving less services for out tax dollar rendered, since they are recieving so much more. I am being robbed so that they can have more (social/communism at its core).
The 15 billion from this project means that a family of four recieves over $100,000 in benefits. This is more than enough to relocate to another part of the country (including other places in the local region better suited to development).
Since this 15 billion is only one small part of the funds used to house, relocate, rebuild, and support NO, the US has spent more than enough money to safely return the city to the swamp it came from.
It is not that we want the people to die or be homeless, it is that we want better, more sustainable solutions for our tax dollars. If we were as land strapped as the Dutch, it might make sense, but in the US, land is still cheap and abundant and there are far better places to live (econimcally) with space to spare.
I love impossible to verify claims.
"Easy against the type of fierce storm the city sees once in 100 years" --and --"And unlike the city’s notorious levees, the WCC won’t break when residents need it most. "
Should be read, "we hope it won't fail, but if it does we will be dead and won't care if you blame us."
A)How exactly can they prove it works. because the grate would need to be submerged with flood water to test it out?
B) It is extremely likely that some politician is going to not want to shut it down in the next 100 years, to divert funds to a casino project, because it should be pretty damn easy to find some "expert" to go on record saying it wouldn't work anyways. Hell for $200 an hour I would do it.
This is for all of you “A” holes that don’t think New Orleans in worth the trouble.
Let me refresh your memories of how important this city is to the rest of the country.
People seem to forget about what happened to oil and gas prices after Katrina, they tripled and in some instances they quadrupled. Southeast Louisiana produces one third of this nations oil and gas, for you people in Rio Linda that 33%. What we (Louisianans) should do is block off or impose a hefty tax on the oil and gas leaving this state then we would not have to ask our incompetent government for the money.
On another note New Orleans is the nations fourth largest port. This area also has one of the largest concentrations of refineries and petrochemical plants in the nation. These plants make it possible for all of you idiots to live a civilized life every day. In addition many of these of these plants produce fertilizer for all of you mid west farmers.
I have a great idea, lets start drilling for oil off the cost of California, Florida and the East Coast, nah that won’t happen because you have a bunch of Obama socialist running the country.
Have a nice day,
A couple of decades ago I asked my father why anyone would have built his home town on the Ohio River. He explained that 180 years ago, before trains and roads, people relied on the river. The flooding didn't start until the watershed was lumbered off Ohio and West Virginia was strip mined. Which might explain why my grand mother was such a tree hugger when most people weren't.
That was before the concerns with global warming and rising sea levels, no one in our family has retired to Florida or any coastal areas.
the solution to this problem is simple enough:
calculate amout of capital swirling around (oil, foreigh matirials traded via its large port ect.) and compare to 14 billion and counting. OR if you dont want the government to build you your houses than just let storms keep hitting it and people retreat inland on their own and a new infrastructure made by private contractors. Although in this scenario the people would all be moneyless...their possesions washed away...and live in the shantytown called new new Orleans. Even though I dont believe in government resposibly spending money. It would be a better option.
Here's the thing.
We had a nice coastline, which the oil companies (and I gotta think that everyone commenting here has had some benefit from them) dug about a jillion miles of pipeline canals across southern Louisiana, so they could sell us all lots of oil and gas. Those canals allowed salt water to intrude into freshwater and marshland, which killed the grass that held the land together, and let it all wash away.
(Forgive, but it was that simple).
Then, the ole USA C of E built some second-rate levees on otherwise good pumping station outlet canals.
Next, some good-ol-boy politicians (yeah, we got some, but all of you do, too) did a poor job of maintaining those levees.
Hurricane Katrina passed through at 10:00 a.m., and things were fine when it left.
Some hours later, water began pouring through the poor levees, in more than one place. You all know the results.
I think all of you who have no use for any oil and gas may feel free to continue your snide comments. For the rest of you, please help us to rebuild our coastline. That way, you may continue getting some oil and gas.
Thanks very much for your support.
Bob in New Orleans