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The Inner Harbor Navigational Canal in New Orleans wins prestigious award

Photo: COWI
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed floodwalls and levees protecting the City of New Orleans back in 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have worked on building a new and improved storm surge barrier designed to reduce future hurricane flood risk.

​The new Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC), Lake Borgne Hurricane Storm Surge Barrier, which closes a critical portion of the Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System surrounding major portions of the New Orleans area in Louisiana, was completed in the summer of 2011. Nearly two miles long and 26 feet high, the new barrier helps keeping the region a vital and safe commercial destination.

COWI subsidiary COWI MARINE North America (BCG) designed a majority of the surge barrier, which is the largest civil works design-build construction ever undertaken by the USACE. The barrier truly showed its worth when Hurricane Isaac went through the New Orleans area a year later.

"The IHNC Barrier prevented an estimated $5 Billion in damages from Isaac, resulting roughly in a four to one benefit to cost ratio within one year of its completion," says Managing Director of BCG, Winston Stewart, and continues:

"This clearly demonstrates the immense value that BCG can bring to projects of this magnitude and challenge and I am particularly proud of our team members who participated in the IHNC Barrier project."

At the 2014 annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the IHNC Barrier project received the award for Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA).

The OCEA award is the highest and most prestigious honour ASCE can bestow on an infrastructure project. This award "recognizes a project that makes a significant contribution to both the civil engineering profession and society as a whole" and at this year's annual gala it was given to the $ 1.35 billion, 9,000-foot long IHNC Surge Barrier in New Orleans.

The OCEA award was not the first

Earlier the project has also been granted with the following awards from The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Engineering News Record (ENR) and the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC):

2012 ACEC Grand Conceptor Award for the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier

2011 ENR Best Civil Works/ Infrastructure Project for the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal

2012 SEAOC Excellence in Structural Engineering Award (Infrastructure) for the IHNC Lake Borgne Flood Wall & MRGO Closure

Rikke Vous Hvidsteen rvhv@cowi.dk

Published 15.04.2014

LAST UPDATED: 16.09.2016