Plaquemines Parish, LA—For the first time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the hurricane risk-reduction system for metro New Orleans will be finished this season.
"I'm confident in saying by the first of June this hurricane season, the entire system will be complete," said Col. Ed Fleming, commander of the Corps New Orleans District.
Fleming made his remarks as the Corps fired up the pumps on the world's largest drainage pumping station over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway on the West Bank, part of a series of tests designed to ensure the giant structures work as designed.
The pumping station and its adjacent sector gate are part of the 133-mile long system of levees, flood walls, gates and pumps that make up the region's defenses.
The Corps is in the process of spending $14.8 billion on features built since Hurricane Katrina.
Last year, continuing construction left gaps in the system, which the Corps plugged with giant sandbags and sheet pilings.
Fleming says those measure will not be required this season.