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New Orleans Devastated Infrastructure

 
 
husker
 
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 04:59 am
By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Sep 2, 12:43 AM

WASHINGTON - No one knows how much it will cost to rebuild the streets, the highways and the bridges devastated by Hurricane Katrina. One thing for sure, however: It will cost more than any other post-disaster reconstruction effort in U.S. history.

Estimating the amount to rebuild isn't on anyone's radar screen yet, as most of New Orleans still is under water and transportation officials are concerned primarily about opening roads for emergency access.

"There's no one on earth who can give you an informed opinion," said Brian Taylor, professor of urban planning at UCLA. "They have to get flashlights to crawl around and look at the stuff."

Jeffrey Brown, assistant professor of urban planning at Florida State University, said the total cost will be staggering.

"There's just nothing that comes close to this," said Brown, who specializes in infrastructure financing. He said the price tag will be many billions of dollars.

Transportation systems in Mississippi and Louisiana sustained the worst damage. State and federal damage assessment teams are being trained and sent into the field.

A major New Orleans artery, Interstate Highway 10, can't be used because the ramps are under water. Giant sections of the 8-mile Twin Span bridge _ about 40 percent of the structure that connects New Orleans with Slidell, La. _ collapsed into Lake Pontchartrain.

U.S. Highway 90, a hundred-mile stretch of road that runs along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Pascagoula, Miss., was basically destroyed. The Bay St. Louis-Gulfport and Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridges are gone.

David Luberoff, a transportation expert at Harvard University, said as they embark on the enormous task, transportation officials will seek to identify and fix the most critical links first.

Already, Louisiana officials are preparing to award a contract to fix the Twin Span. Mississippi is trying to allow work to begin on replacing a 300-foot span of the Pascagoula Bridge. Alabama officials say they'll work as quickly as possible to replace five 50-foot concrete spans on the eastbound U.S. Highway 90 Causeway in Mobile.

Once the waters recede in New Orleans, transportation officials will have to assess whether a road is safe enough to drive on, said Tom Malloy, vice president of the Intermodal Association of North America in Calverton, Md., which represents truckers, shipping companies and railroads.

"There are some older buildings compromised, their foundations shot," Malloy said. "A couple major trucks rolling down the street can shake it loose."

Until then, said Malloy, damage to roads and bridges will force railroads and truckers to take circuitous routes around New Orleans, which will drive up the cost of commodities from Central and South America such as coffee and bananas.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 819 • Replies: 16
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 05:05 am
Replacement Pumps Don't Exist
Officials say damaged equipment may take a week to dry out before it can be repaired.

By Peter Pae, Times Staff Writer


Efforts to drain New Orleans hit another snag Friday as the Army Corps of Engineers discovered that it could not buy new pumps to replace those damaged by the flooding.

Massive pumps capable of draining the city like those that have been keeping New Orleans dry for decades are no longer made and would have to be specially ordered, a process that would take too long, said Col. Richard Wagenaar, the senior corps official in New Orleans.

Instead, repair crews will have to dry out the existing pumps, which could take up to a week, before repairing them with replacement motors and parts and begin pumping water back into Lake Pontchartrain. The repair job could prolong efforts to drain the city, about 80% of which is submerged.

"These pumps are so big, you can't buy them off the shelf. You have to make them, and we don't have time for that," said Wagenaar, who spent about an hour Friday escorting President Bush around the levee damage at the 17th Street Canal.

The city, much of which is below sea level, relies on a network of 22 pumps to keep water out. Army engineers now believe eight pumps are underwater.

The latest wrinkle illustrated the enormous complexity of draining the city, which for more than 200 years had gradually built up an elaborate system to keep itself dry.

Even with the setback, Wagenaar said, the city could be drained in three to six months, mainly because engineers may finally be able to get to the largest pump station, at the end of the 17th Street Canal, as early as today.

A survey by helicopter Friday showed that railroad tracks were now above water and could provide access to the pump. It will take an additional three or four days for the Army to set up diesel generators to power the pump.

But other submerged pump stations will have to wait until a portion of the city is drained, which could take several more weeks. The Army needs to patch up two major levees that were torn open by the hurricane before it can begin notching holes in undamaged levees to let the water out.

On Friday, bulldozers filled about 25 feet of the 300-foot gap in the levee at the 17th Street Canal as military helicopters dumped 100 sandbags, some weighing as much as 3 tons, to raise the depth of the gap from about 7 feet to 3 feet.

Wagenaar said he hoped to patch the 17th Street Canal levee by today and the levee at the London Avenue Canal by next week.

"Our plans are changing every day," Wagenaar said.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 10:47 am
Gee, that is something about the pumps...
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 12:08 pm
It sounds to me that things, in general, have been left to deteriorate, with no backup plans either.

The state of the levees were discussed in another thread and as was pointed out by Set, the city and area have outgrown the effectiveness of them. There obviously was no long-range planning done and "what if" scenarios thought about.

Down the road with the city eventually being slowly rebuilt, surely the state of these various levees and the pumps (as you posted) must be seriously addressed and upgraded. Or, perhaps, a whole new system of dykes.

Otherwise, what would be the point? Who would feel safe moving back to the rebuilt city?
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 12:55 pm
maybe there was a false feeling of safety to start with
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 01:04 pm
Reyn wrote:
There obviously was no long-range planning done and "what if" scenarios thought about.


Both of these were done, but implementation cost money and Congress, at the behest of the Bush administration, cut or eliminated the money for these programs.
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 01:32 pm
New York Times

Intricate Flood Protection Long a Focus of Dispute

By Andrew C Revkin and Christopher Drew
Published: September 1, 2005

The 17th Street levee that gave way and led to the flooding of New Orleans was part of an intricate, aging system of barriers and pumps that was so chronically underfinanced that senior regional officials of the Army Corps of Engineers complained about it publicly for years.
Often leading the chorus was Alfred C. Naomi, a senior project manager for the corps and a 30-year veteran of efforts to waterproof a city built on slowly sinking mud, surrounded by water and periodically a target of great storms.
Mr. Naomi grew particularly frustrated this year as the Gulf Coast braced for what forecasters said would be an intense hurricane season and a nearly simultaneous $71 million cut was announced in the New Orleans district budget to guard against such storms.
He called the cut drastic in an article in New Orleans CityBusiness.


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/01/national/nationalspecial/01levee.html
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 02:28 pm
The Dutch are the world leaders in land drainage and land reclamation, I believe.
And in the manufacture of large pumps.

Do you think the US would ask for a Dutch-led team to manage the rehab of the NO system? Or would that be a non-starter, politically?
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 05:40 pm
McTag wrote:
The Dutch are the world leaders in land drainage and land reclamation, I believe.
And in the manufacture of large pumps.

Do you think the US would ask for a Dutch-led team to manage the rehab of the NO system? Or would that be a non-starter, politically?

Yes, since the big flood in 1954, they made huge advances in the dyking systems there.

In another article that Husker posted, it mentions that the ground that New Orleans is sitting on continues to sink. How the heck can they compensate for that? Is it worth rebuilding if these problems are so great? Or, would it be possible to "move" the city further inland?
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 09:37 pm
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/09/03/geology/story.jpg

great picture
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 09:42 pm
Great depiction of the situation. Thanks!

Can you find any more info about New Orleans sinking?
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 09:45 pm
article that goes with the picture
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barefootTia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 09:47 pm
Even if it is rebuilt it with a larger and improved levee system, I doubt that I would ever want to live there.
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 09:48 pm
I would not
0 Replies
 
barefootTia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 10:01 pm
Personally I do not think it should be rebuilt again to inhabit that many people.
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 10:11 pm
IMO it's going to be real hard to keep people out of there.
Building anew city for 200.000+ interesting maybe a new futuristic type of city?
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2005 10:28 pm
husker wrote:
article that goes with the picture

Thanks, Husk! Good stuff....
0 Replies
 
 

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