Thursday, May 25, 2006

When Is Good Enough Good Enough?

Levees Rebuilt Just in Time, but Doubts Remain - New York Times:
But even though all sides agree that the corps has largely achieved its goal, independent engineers say it is the goal that is the real problem. New Orleans is still very much at risk, they say, because the level of protection the corps has reached is still not as strong as the city needs.

Many experts view this hurricane season, which begins on June 1, with trepidation, and hope that the system is not put to a test like Hurricane Katrina before further improvements can be made.
I hope they hold for the sake of the people living there and all of us who need to feel that this government can do anything about anything right. Let's face it, though, this President and Congress don't want people to expect anything from their federal government other than tax cuts (if you're rich enough) and war (if you're not).
The degree of vulnerability was underscored on Monday, when an independent team of researchers led by engineering professors at the University of California, Berkeley, and supported by the National Science Foundation released a report that found the hurricane protection system riddled with errors in design, construction and maintenance — a pattern of inattention to safety that caused the system to crumble in a hurricane that should have, for the most part, caused little more than wind damage and a day or so of street flooding.

"The overall New Orleans flood protection system," Professor Seed said in a briefing last weekend, "must be considered suspect."

1 comment:

jaime in metairie said...

Well, think about it. The goal was "pre-Katrina" strength. That did us a whole lot of good last summer.

The fact is they have been doing a patch job on the specific locations that failed. Almost nothing has been done to the portions of the levee's and floodwalls that may have been weakened but did not actually breach.

The breach of the 17th Street canal wall and the two breaches of the London Ave canal wall occurred at surge heights 3 to 4 feet BELOW maximum design loads. By definition, this is design error. (multiple and simultaneous catastrophic failures).

Where does that leave the side of the 17th street wall that remained intact? Since the Orleans Ave Canal is between and parallel to those two canals it is build on the same soil and constructed manner - how safe is it?

As a side note - while the walls are 14' high on the Orleans Ave. Canal the end was only 5' or 6' high. How was that supposed to work as far as flood protection goes? As far as I am aware nothing has been done to close the end of the Orleans Ave. Canal (which accounts for much of the floodwater in the City Park area) or repair it's almost certainly damaged structure.

Thanks Army Corp


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