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Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Hurricane Protection Program Management

Client: U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Challenge

Chester Engineers was contracted by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers (USACE) Hurricane Protection Office to perform all program and construction management services required to complete the largest civil works design-build project ever undertaken by USACE to improve the Greater New Orleans hurricane protection infrastructure following the impacts of Hurricane Katrina. Additionally Chester Engineers was tasked to perform engineering of key infrastructure elements, including developing the RFP for the construction contractor. The mandate to increase safety from hurricane damage on a stringent timeline presented major challenges, which led to the decision for the first ever large-scale federal civil works design-build project.

The Interdisciplinary Approach

Chester Engineers assembled a team of seasoned program managers and construction managers, as well as design engineers and regulatory specialists. This integrated approach allowed USACE to use all assets available to manage and perform a broad array of key functions on this massive project. Daily interaction allowed USACE and its construction contractor team to maintain progress in the face of many changes to design while conforming to budget and schedule. In order to coordinate the myriad of design and construction activities, the design, regulatory process, and construction were performed simultaneously. Major program management support resources were demanded in order to address the innovations in procurement approach, engineering and construction methods. In addition to management of the engineering, regulatory, and construction processes, Chester personnel played additional roles critical to the success of the program, including coordinating with interest groups and the media, facilitating technical brainstorming sessions, and leading partnering sessions with the construction industry to allow early resolution or avoidance of potential implementation problems. Portions of program management work were performed through embedment of Chester Engineers personnel within USACE offices and independent assignments.

The Sustainable Result

The IHNC project benefited from a capable and creative program and construction management team to successfully adhere to Congressionally mandated timelines while using novel and ambitious methods under extremely close scrutiny from an array of critics. A surge barrier, similar to a floodwall but much larger, is sited near the confluence of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). Navigation gates are located where the barrier crosses the GIWW and Bayou Bienvenue to reduce the risk of storm surge coming from Lake Borgne and/or the Gulf of Mexico. This project has been recognized by numerous prestigious awards, including the 2012 ACEC Grand Conceptor award, the 2014 ASCE OPAL award, and is viewed as a global model for flood infrastructure solutions that are resilient and adaptable in the face of climate change.

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    Project Highlights:
  • Concrete floodwall with navigation gates at Bayou Bienvenue and the GIWW.
  • Navigation gate at Seabrook vicinity.
  • Marsh enhancement with dredged organic material.
  • Increased safety.
    Services Provided:
  • Program Management.
  • Construction Management.
  • Development of RFP for Construction Contractor.