Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Storm Surge Barrier
Lake Borgne
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused catastrophic damage to the City of New Orleans and surrounding areas and resulted in the single most costly failure of an engineered system in history. To protect this most vulnerable area in region in the future from storm surges generated through the Gulf of Mexico, the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Storm Surge Barrier was built in Lake Borgne across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). The completed IHNC Lake Borgne Barrier is comprised of a nearly 2-mile-long floodwall, sector gate, barge gate and vertical lift gate and prevents the storm surge from entering protected area.

The general soil profile at the construction site consists of Holocene age Marsh and soft clay overlying Pleistocene deposits. The soft clay foundation conditions and large storm surge loading combine to create challenging design conditions. A safe and economical design of the barrier "floating" in soft-medium-stiff clays required a thorough understanding of its performance to satisfy design requirements for structural strength and serviceability. The BSCE engineers, Robert Bittner and Wenjun Dong, while working with Ben C. Gerwick, Inc., developed the initial design concept and conducted the finite element Soil-Structure-Interaction (SSI) analysis of barrier structure. The SSI analysis provide more realistic predictions on forces on piles, seepage, consolidation and globe stability characteristics.

Floodwall comprised of concrete plumb and steel batter piles


IHNC Lake Borgne Barrier Floodwall
Services Provided:
  • Initial Concept Design
  • Loading Evaluations
  • Lateral Resistance Studies
  • Stability and Seepage Analyses
  • Soil-Structure-Interaction Analysis
  • Constructability Reviews

Home Office: 921 SW Washington Street, Suite 765, Portland, OR 97205 Tel: 503.766.3199 Fax: 503.922.0105
Denver Office: 1888 Sherman Street, Suite 770, Denver, CO 80203 Tel: 720.201.9474