The Lake Borgne Surge Barrier
Tetra Tech-INCA

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A $1.1-billion response to the death and destruction of Hurricane Katrina has been named the year's most outstanding engineering achievement in the 46th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards—a juried national competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

An all-time record of more than 600 members and guests attended the black-tie Engineering Excellence Awards Gala, held April 17 in Washington, D.C. The event paid tribute to 147 preeminent engineering achievements from throughout the world.

In August 2005, one of the largest recorded storm surges in U.S. history—over 25 feet—entered the confluence of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway during Hurricane Katrina, overtopping a 4,000-foot-long levee section and causing widespread flooding, destruction and death in the New Orleans region.

As part of a joint venture with Ben C. Gerwick, Inc., Tetra Tech INCA led the design team that produced the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier —a concrete and steel defense against any future Katrina-like assault. At 26-feet-tall and nearly two miles long, it is the largest surge barrier of its kind in the world.

Built to withstand a once in a 100-year storm surge event, the new surge barrier effectively moves the first line of storm-surge defense more than 12 miles away from downtown New Orleans, and is now a model for floodgate and floodwall design worldwide.