Floodgates contracts awarded, 17th St., London Ave.

The Times Picayune
By Sheila Grissett (Staff Writer)
Published January 28, 2006

The first emergency contracts to build floodgates designed by the Army Corps of Engineers to stop future storm surges from entering New Orleans outfall canals damaged by Hurricane Katrina were awarded Friday night in New Orleans.

The three contracts, totaling almost $89.9 million, authorize winning bidders to begin immediately assembling personnel and equipment, ordering materials and preparing the sites for construction.

Levee flood walls along the canals failed during Hurricane Katrina, flooding thousands of homes in New Orleans and in some neighborhoods in Old Metairie.

Building interim floodgates and equipping them with auxiliary power must be complete by June 1, opening day of the 2006 hurricane season, according to officials with Task Force Guardian, the corps team overseeing all repairs to the region’s hurricane protection system.

Building floodgates in three New Orleans outfall canals where levees were damaged by Hurricane Katrina is a key element in Task Force Guardian’s mission to prepare the city for the next hurricane season.

Two of the contracts let Friday were for construction of gates in the 17th Street canal and the London Avenue canal at Lake Pontchartrain.

Within days, the corps expects to let another contract for construction of a similar gate in the Orleans Avenue Canal, which Katrina left in shaky condition, task force spokesman Jim Taylor said.

Boh Brothers Construction Co. of New Orleans won the $27.8 million bid to equip the 17th Street Canal with gates, and the M.R. Pittman Group of Harahan received the $25.5 million contract to build gates in the London Avenue Canal.

The MWI Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., won a third $26.6 million contract to provide 34 diesel pumps to the three pump stations.