Central California Levees Have State Flirting with Disaster

In this article, the author relates concerns regarding northern California’s 1,600-mile levee system and emphasizes the need for improving the state’s system in light of the disastrous failings of levees in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The proposed levee improvements, which are supported by a proposed $1.2 billion infrastructure bond bill (as well as $90 million more proposed in federal aid), are approached in a number of ways. The least expensive program involves adding plastic sheeting and a 200 ft. wide berm to counteract the water weight on the other side and lengthen the distances that subterranean seepage must travel. An alternative to this is a seepage barrier, which is attractive to engineers as it does not broaden the levee and thus provides more options. The final and most costly solutions are a sheet-pile insertion (which is an intrusive and noisy process that would be difficult to negotiate around local homeowners) or an attached-setback levee (which essentially builds a second levee with geogrid reinforcement).


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Illustrations; Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 30-31
  • Serial:
    • ENR
    • Volume: 255
    • Issue Number: 16
    • Publisher: McGraw-Hill, Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0891-9526

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01010966
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 28 2005 6:29PM