Engineers and Contractors Attack Recovery and Reconstruction

This article describes how the engineering community is applying their expertise in the recovery and reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. Following Hurricane Katrina, rescue workers, engineers, and construction contractors probably faced their biggest challenge in New Orleans, where nine levee breaches flooded nearly 80 percent of the city. The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) sought to ease repair of 300-foot-long breaches in levee-floodwalls along the 17th Street and London Avenue Canals, and protect against failure of other weakened sections, by driving sheet piling across the mouths of both canals. Nine days after Hurricane Katrina hit, the Corps announced that pumps at several pumping stations and portable pumps were discharging water at a rate of over 5,000 cubic feet per second, but despite that, nearly 60 percent of New Orleans remained under water. By September 15, the Corps announced that seven of the nine levee breaches were repaired and that it had reached the halfway point in its dewatering mission. That mission was expected to be completed by mid-October. Hurricane Katrina also damaged and shut down bridges, highways, and local roads. On September 6, experts assembled by the University of Buffalo's Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) arrived in the Gulf Coast to assess the damages to bridges and commercial structures as a first-step towards identifying how their earthquake engineering expertise can be applied to designing structures able to withstand such hazards as earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks. MCEER researchers at Cornell University have created an Internet Map Server application to support field surveying efforts, including photos, data logs, video, and text descriptions concerning the status of critical infrastructure in various communities along the Mississippi coast. These data will be incorporated with existing information about the location of roads, bridges, and buildings, as well as with economic and demographic data. The ASFE/The Best People on Earth initiated the Gulf Coast Engineers and Scientists Emergency Assistance Project, which comprises a series of five public forums on its website for use by Gulf Coast engineering and environmental science firms that need assistance and firms nationwide that can help. The American Society of Civil Engineers has proposed the creation of an independent, federally funded reconstruction advisory panel for New Orleans. This panel advises local officials on the city’s rebuilding as well as proposes strategies that will minimize the effects of future storms.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 10-13
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01010999
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 20 2005 7:42PM