PCCP Commissioning Nears Completion
Commissioning of the Permanent Canal Closures and Pumping (PCCP) project is reaching conclusion on the three primary drainage canals for the metropolitan New Orleans, La., area. This final design/build project for storm surge protection has a contract value of $620 million, which was awarded to PCCP Constructors in May 2013. PCCP Constructors is a joint venture of Kiewit Infrastructure South, Traylor Bros. Inc., and MR Pittman Co. PND is a subconsultant to Stantec, Inc., the overall project designer.
The back-story begins in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the eventual decision by the U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers
(USACE) to construct three enormous pump stations on the canals at 17th Street, London Avenue, and Orleans Street. During Hurricane Katrina, it was the canal walls at these locations that collapsed from storm surge, thereby flooding 70 percent of the New Orleans area. The reinforced canal walls and new pump stations/surge barrier gates protect the low-lying areas from future storm surge.
When asked to describe the PND role in this project, the most accessible metaphor has been to “…design a 50-foot deep cofferdam constructed from sheet pile and anchored in stiff pancake batter.” In plan dimensions, the cofferdam at 17th
Street was roughly a football field in length, and width. At London Avenue and Orleans Canal, the excavations are roughly two-thirds the size of the hole at 17th Street.
The three photographs to the left are from the 17th Street cofferdam at the time of initial installation of the sheet pile cells in early 2014 (top), the configuration after unwatering in May 2015 (middle), and as it looks today with the cofferdam removed (bottom). The drainage canal walls approaching the pump stations are likewise constructed using an OPEN CELL™ bulkhead arrangement and are visible in the last photograph.
PND expended 23,500 labor hours to complete the project, which began in May 2013, and our effort has now concluded with delivery of final as-built drawings. A powerful level of commitment and teamwork was demonstrated by everyone involved – it pushed people far beyond their comfort levels and as a result sharpened PND skills to tackle similar projects.