"NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 23 - When the Army Corps of Engineers started to design a flood wall on the 17th Street Canal here in the early 1980's, deep probes found what geologists viewed as a potentially weak layer of peat soil about 15 feet below sea level in the area where the wall collapsed during Hurricane Katrina.
Yet in building the wall, corps officials acknowledge, they did not drive the steel pilings - the main anchors for the structure - any deeper than 17 feet.
Several outside engineers who have examined the designs say the decision not to hammer the pilings deeper and into firmer ground left the support for the flood wall dangerously dependent on soil that could easily have given way under the immense pressure from floodwaters. "
No real explanation as to why the engineers ignored the geologists' analyses. Could it have been cost-cutting at the expense of safety?
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