Residents along the Lakefront are being advised to brace themselves for some major construction work. The Army Corps of Engineers is starting work on three permanent canal closures and pumps at 17th Street and Orleans and London Avenues.
The $615 million project is designed to keep storm surge out of city canals. In a major storm, gates will close and stormwater will be pumped out the canals into Lake Pontchartrain.
The corps is planning 24-hour construction schedules to get the three stations completed in 2017.
Daniel Bradley, the Corps’ senior project manager, says he worked on the temporary system that’s still being used — and that will continue to be used until the new pump system is operating.
“The temporary was just that," says Bradley. "It was built quickly so we could get some protection up for the city and metropolitan area right after Hurricane Katrina, and then we had to add pumps to it. So it was almost like we were just building at the time as much as we could, very quickly, knowing that later on we would come forward with a permanent line of protection to replace those pump stations.”
That line is ready to go.
Pile driving is set to start next month and operate between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
“We’re looking at probably a stretch of between 12 to 16 months, but remember that it’s happening at three different canals at three different schedules," Bradley said. "Orleans is a very small pump station, so they’ll be in and out of there quick. At London, it’s the second largest, so they’ll be in and out the next quickest. And 17th, which is in an industrial site, will take the longest.”
The Corps has set up a special Facebook page called “PermPumps” that updates road closures and includes a hotline for concerns about construction impacts.