Tag Archive | civil engineering

New Orleans Achieves Stronger Infrastructure Resilience thru the IHNC Surge Barrier

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier

The catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 provide many lessons on infrastructure resilience. The threat of storm surges remains because of the city’s average elevation level is six feet (or almost 2 meters) below sea level and being bodies of water surround the city.

In 2005, the 28-foot storm surge that Hurricane Katrina created left some areas of New Orleans flooded. There were breaches on the floodwall due to foundation failure and water over topping the levees.

Learning from Hurricane Katrina experience, New Orleans and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System embarked on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier or IHNC Surge Barrier project.

Its construction begun in 2008, and with an aggressive four-year timeline to beat. Despite many complications and technical challenges, the barrier was completed ahead of time in 2011. Construction cost reached $1.1 billion. It’s was a simultaneous design and build civil work project.

The IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is one of the largest civil works project designed and constructed in the US Army Corp’s history. It extends through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet near New Orleans.

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier

It was designed to reduce the effect of storm surge and prevents damage to the most vulnerable areas around New Orleans. The barrier specifically protects the surrounding area against storm surge coming from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Borgne.

The structure consists of three gates that allow vessel passage through a concrete barrier wall, 10,000 feet long and 26 feet high. There’s a complete floodwall closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The Seabrook Floodgate was also constructed, another navigation gate in the vicinity of Seabrook that meets and blocks possible storm surge from the Lake Ponchartrain.

With the breaches repaired and fortified, the level of protection in New Orleans is much better than any time in their entire history. The New Orlean’s surge barrier proved its mettle and served its purpose when Hurricane Isaac came in August 2012.

With its complex structural design, the edifice stands as an infrastructure resilience landmark.  This year, the infrastructure garnered the 2014 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Achieving 100-year storm criteria, IHNC is now considered the model of floodgate and floodwall designs all over the world. Now an infrastructure resilience icon, the IHNC Surge Barrier has become the pride of Louisiana and the US.

Calamities will continue to challenge civilization but with infrastructure management experts providing resilience plans and strategies, risks are significantly reduced.

PHOTO CREDIT: Seacity2100; American Society of Civil Engineers

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Why Civil Engineering Remains a Bright and Lucrative Course

civil engineering career

I read an article titled “Philippine Government Increases Infrastructure Expenditure to 5% of GDP in 2014 – Is This Enough?” and realised that Civil Engineering is a good course of choice.

Do you know why?

  • The Philippine Government has earmarked $9.24 billion (3% of GDP) for infrastructure spending in the 2014 budget.
  • Infrastructure spending will increase to 5% in the next two years or at $13.57 billion and $19.05 billion in 2015 and 2016, respectively

Now, this is only as far as Philippines is concerned.

Read this article “Why Infrastructure Management is Important“, and you will notice how much the countries in regions of the world will be spending annually for infrastructures.

According to the World Bank Infrastructure Strategy Update chart, the annual infrastructure spending of some world regions is 7% of GDP or between $45.3 to $207 billion dollars.

Also, with most developing and third-world countries struggling for integrity, the World Bank would be needing honest and skilled civil engineers who would supervise all these infrastructure program implementation around the world.

Now, consider this.

For all the infrastructures these countries will be building as they cope with population and development, the role of infrastructure management or infrastructure asset management experts are valuable.

CLICKING on the image below will direct you to a post that will provide snippets of infrastructure management learning in the Philippine context.

Philippine Government Increases Infrastructure Expenditure to 5  of GDP in 2014 – Inframanage


Study at Central Philippine University.

[button url=”http://cpu.edu.ph/contactform/form.php” target=”blank” style=”soft” background=”#0028ff” color=”#ffd700″ size=”10″ center=”yes” radius=”5″]Contact CPU now![/button]


Infrastructure Management – Does CPU Teach This?

Infrastructure Management involves the prolonging of life and use of long-term assets for the common good.

Infrastructure Management involves the prolonging of life and use of long-term assets for the common good.

Does CPU teach “Infrastructure Management”?

I’m a Civil Engineering graduate of CPU 1989 and I can’t recall encountering the phrase “infrastructure management”.

Maybe I wasn’t listening or I was absent when it was lectured but was the topic ever brought up in any of our subjects?

Our curriculum at that time included nine units of management but they are more related to financial and business management.

I could recall two phrases that could relate to infrastructure management topics, “sum-of-the-years digits” and “cost-benefit ratio” but they were never emphasized in that context.

Is “infrastructure management” in the vocabulary of Central Philippine University? The easy and fast way to know is to do a search in CPU’s website. I made a quick search and it can’t be found.

Anyway, Centralians need not be dismayed for the absence of “infrastructure management” (maybe during our years at CPU only) in our curriculum.

I’m sure that some civil engineer alumni have practiced infrastructure asset management in their profession, courtesy of learning through experience or formal training through their company.

I learned recently that infrastructure management is integral in New Zealand local government practices.

The basic aim of infrastructure asset management is to create plans and implement best practice procedures to maintain and prolong the service life of long-term infrastructure assets.

This is very crucial to supporting and sustaining the quality of life in the community. When infrastructures or assets are managed well, it has implication in local and national economy, especially when resources are very limited.

Going back to the question, I also have the big suspicion that other top engineering schools in the Philippines might be touching lightly on ‘infrastructure management’ and related topics.

If Central Philippine University gives emphasis on “Infrastructure Management”, she will soon be graduating people who are apt and ready to gain career in this area, maybe in their local districts initially and take on jobs internationally.

For further information, please browse this –> INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT website.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Yachts at Wellington Harbour by Ross Waugh