“But if it was my world and I didn’t have much money, I’d get out there withVisqueen and start nailing the damn stuff down [in order to armor the levees]. That pile of dirt won’t do what you want unless you protect it. We need to secure what we’ve got, and it’s irresponsible not to.”–Robert Bea, Berkeley engineer
(Times Picayune photo)
Levees, not the already eroded thing you see above that W has wrought, but Cat 5 levees must be a priority of this new Congress if NOLA is to survive.
Forensic investigators have said that building levees and floodwalls without lining them with rock or concrete was a fundamental flaw in the hurricane protection system that failed during Hurricane Katrina.
And yet, 18 months later, the region’s levees remain largely unarmored and are likely to stay that way for the next two or three storm seasons. And, to the dismay of scientists monitoring the Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to patch together the region’s flood defenses, in some places the unarmored levees already have deep cuts caused by rainfall pounding their unprotected crests.
All of the postmortems on the catastrophic failure of the levee system — some by independent scientists, done by the corps itself — acknowledge that scouring and other forms of erosion played a key role in the collapse.
In January, the corps made an urgent request for $600 million to armor much or most of the 360-mile system of levees, but at the request of the Bush administration, corps officials whittled that to $170 million.
That would allow for armoring only the most vulnerable spots; the only levees to make the short list have been the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and one reach in eastern New Orleans.
Under its current, tentative schedule, even limited additional armoring isn’t likely to be finished until the start of the 2010 hurricane season.
Although corps research and development teams have been studying what to armor and how to do it since January, there is still no final word on the strategies they propose to implement. “It was decided that a more detailed analysis was needed to ensure the best answers,” Hitchings said.
If the research and development findings determine that additional sections of the system should be armored in the next phase of work, or that $170 million isn’t sufficient to do the job, Hitchings said the corps would take a new request forward. “We made a commitment to the administration that if we find that it isn’t enough to do the job we need to do, we’ll come back to them.”
What a load of unarmored crap. You urgently need $600M and get $170M but hey we can ask again later if we realize we need what we knew we needed all along?
BushCo continues to “rebuild” on the cheap and it needs to stop. The new Congress needs to infuse the necesssary capital into levee protection for New Orleans and further instill the required sense of urgency to rebuilding NOLA and the Gulf Coast which has been grossly lacking from Bush.
UPDATE: Mr Clio atWorld Class New Orleans has more commentary…