$3.2 billion, 50-year plan to raise New Orleans-area levees Army Corps says

$3.2 billion, 50-year plan to raise New Orleans-area levees Army Corps says

PLANS TO RAISE LEVEES, FLOODWALLS: CORPS PROPOSES $3.2 BILLION IN LEVEE IMPROVEMENTS, INCLUDING PROJECTS TO LIFT LEVEES AND FLOODWALLS TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS IN ORDER TO KEEP THE REGION PROTECTED FROM 100-YEAR HURRICANES THROUGH 2073.

What it'll take to raise New Orleans-area levees: $3.2 billion, 50-year plan, Corps says

PLANS TO RAISE LEVEES, FLOODWALLS: Corps proposes $3.2 billion in levee improvements, including projects to lift levees and floodwalls to higher elevations in order to keep the region protected from 100-year hurricanes through 2073.The Army Corps of Engineers has recommended a $3.2 billion, 50-year plan to elevate both the hurricane-protection levee systems on either side of the Mississippi River and several miles of river levees to keep pace with sinking soils and rising sea level.

In dual reports released Monday, the Corps said its plan, if pursued, would keep levees and floodwalls high enough to reduce flooding caused by storm surges resulting from hurricanes with a 1 percent chance of occurring in any year.

Protection from these so-called 100-year storms was the baseline standard the federal government agreed to provide in building New Orleans' new levee system after Hurricane Katrina.

Keeping the levees that high will guarantee that properties behind the levees would continue to be eligible for flood insurance in the future.

The system must be recertified as meeting those height requirements in 2023, and in announcing it was beginning the study earlier this year, Corps officials said some levees might already be below the 100-year required height by then.

When the study was announced, the Corps initially discounted a more expensive proposal to increase heights of the levee system to protect from a 0.5 percent surge event — a "250-year storm" — as “less efficient” and more costly to build and maintain.

The study was authorized by 2014 congressional legislation aimed at allowing the federal government to pay a portion of the levee lifts if they were found to benefit the national economy. The state will still have to pay 35 percent of the construction costs and all of the costs of operating and maintaining the levee improvements when complete.

COMPLETE ARTICLE By MARK SCHLEIFSTEIN | STAFF WRITER, NOLA.com on COASTAL NEWS TODAY