NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Just as hurricane season gets underway, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin upgrades to the levee system by installing erosion-resistant material.
"We've got the levees at a height that we are comfortable with, and this added feature will bring resiliency to a system that we've already constructed," Corps Sr. Project Manager Bradley Drouant said.
In the upcoming weeks, crews will begin putting in woven mesh material on 5-mile stretch from West End at the lakefront toward New Orleans East to the Seabrook Bridge.
The $5.8 million project is expected to end summer 2016.
The levee system protecting the Greater New Orleans area is set up to take on a 100-year storm or a storm that has a one percent chance of happening in any given year. Engineers say this material will put protection at a level higher than that.
"Nature will throw you a curve ball and something bigger than you plan for and this add resiliency to the system so that in that event, it will help the levees withstand that storm," Drouant said.
Crews will remove existing grass on the levee, install the mesh and put a layer of sod on top to provide erosion control.
The majority of the mesh will be placed on the backside of the levee to keep the it from toppling over if water were to overlap the levee.
The complete plan is to install all of the material along all of the Earthen-ed levees surrounding the area. The material will not be installed along the some of levees surrounding canals going through the city, such as the Seventeenth Street Canal or the Lower Ninth Ward.
According to the Corps, the total cost to install the material on the levees surrounding the city will be close to a $1 billion.