The Authority received and opened bids for the first levee lift prior to armoring project on July 27. The apparent low bidder, Durr Heavy Construction, was awarded a contract at the September board meeting.
The Authority will raise 800 linear feet of levee in Westwego by an average of two feet at a cost of approximately $515k. The West Bank and Vicinity (WBV) hurricane protection project was predominantly completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in June of 2014 at a cost of about $4.1 billion. The final piece of the hurricane protection project will be to make the earthen levees resilient against overtopping from hurricane storm surge. The Corps plans to armor the earthen levees and keep them from washing away by covering them with a geo-synthetic product. However, the levees have settled as much as three feet since 2014 and must now be raised in order to keep up with settlement, subsidence and sea-level rise. With assistance from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the Authority obtained permits from the Corps to raise the levees prior to armoring in order to prolong the life of the armoring product and save the taxpayers approximately $16 million.
The initial levee armoring projects are being funded by the Corps at full federal expense. However, the Authority will have to continue to raise and armor these levees on average every 10 years for the next 40 years with local funds. Currently the Authority is in the process of obtaining 408 permits from the Corps in order to armor five additional levee segments on the West Bank. The Authority estimates that it will need $16 million in order to raise the levees in West Jefferson prior to armoring.