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Upgraded New Orleans storm barrier system to cost $1.8 Billion

While the Army Corps of Engineers continues to design, build and implement a storm preparedness system that prevents the type of flooding New Orleans saw after Hurricane Katrina, the price has gone shockingly high. Per an Associated Press article, creating a satisfactory system of floodgates and other water barriers will cost nearly two billion dollars, nearly 15% of the budgeted money the area was given to rebuild.

Top brass at the Army Corps of Engineers say the estimated price of a major project to build three floodgates and a 1.8-mile storm surge barrier to protect New Orleans from hurricanes is now $1.8 billion.

The cost of closing off the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal has risen since the project began last year. The structures being built on the eastern flank of New Orleans are among the most important features in the Army Corps’ plan to defend the city against hurricanes.

Army Corps officials say they have asked Congress to allow it to use $540 million in funds slated for other projects to finish the work on the canal by 2011.

In all, Congress gave the corps $14.3 billion after Hurricane Katrina to build a better flood protection system for the New Orleans region.

It is important this project does not get weighed down in the bureaucracy of delays and halts while budgeting is figured out because the city cannot afford, literally, to experience another meltdown of implemented fail-safes as it did in the wake of Katrina. By prioritizing this effort, the government would demonstrate a clear desire to protect the city from future harm and give the corps a project it can be proud of completing. To not do so would be catastrophic when the next great hurricane comes.