Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex
Meyer Engineers, Ltd. provided Construction Management on the $870 million Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex Project. This massive project, which will include a 20,000 CFS drainage pump station, spans three parishes – Jefferson, Orleans, and Plaquemines. Also included in the project are two sector gates, 5700’ of concrete Tee-wall supported on concrete piling, 9000’ of Earthen Levee, a Safe House for the pump station operators, cofferdams, dredging, bulkheads, dolphins, fenders, guide walls, rock jetties, concrete roads, and asphalt roads. The complex reached its substantial completion date on June 1, 2011, accomplishing the goal of completion prior to the 2011 hurricane season.
The unprecedented 20,000 cubic feet per second storm water drainage pumping station, the largest of this type in the world, includes 11 vertical 11’ diameter pumps, powered by 12 cylinder, 5400 horse power Caterpillar diesel engines.
The closure complex is the largest feature that will cross the GIWW, a federally-maintained navigation channel. The complex consists of a 225’ sector gate, a 110’ secondary gate, the pump station, and a combination wall which consists of 54” spiral weld piles and steel sheet piles.
The West Closure Complex Project reduces the risk of storm surge from an event that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year for a majority of the west bank area by preventing storm surge from entering the Harvey and Algiers canals. The streamlined Surge Protection consists of the closure complex and three miles of floodwalls and earthen levees. This surge barrier removes approximately 25 miles of existing parallel protection from the primary line of defense, making those levees a secondary line of defense. Four million cubic yards of material was removed for the construction of this project.
In addition, the project is adjacent to an Environmental Protection Agency wetland area of national significance – The Bayou Aux Carpes wetlands, which has a 404c designation. Therefore, construction impacts on this area must be kept to a minimum. Meyer is working in coordination with the Corps, Environmental Protection Agency, federal and state resource agencies, non-federal partners, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority- West Bank, the National Park Service, US Coast Guard, as well as other interested stakeholders, to develop the best engineering alternative with the fewest unavoidable environmental impacts.
In order to reach the goal of substantial completion by June 1, 2011; Meyer, the contractor, and the USACE worked 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to complete the Surge Barrier to 100 year risk reduction levels by the hurricane season. Work began in April 2009 and was completed in September 2013. In order to expedite the work, the USACE used Construction Management At Risk, which allows members of the construction industry to participate in the early stages of the design and planning for this project. CM at-risk also enables the Corps to incorporate innovative construction sequencing techniques into the proposed plan for the West Closure Complex project. Meyer has assisted in this work.
Meyer had one Construction Manager/ Team Leader, two Project Engineers, and ten Quality Assurance Representatives (Inspectors) working with the USACE on this project.
For additional information regarding the design of this massive project, the USACE has provided a video describing the process of construction and other design concerns.
Substantial Completion Date: SEPTEMBER 2013
Construction Cost: $870,o00,000