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Building for resilience in New Orleans

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World Cement,

Lafarge participated in the US$700 million Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System project in New Orleans, one of the largest civil works projects in the history of the Army Corps of Engineers. It is the largest surge barrier of its kind worldwide and is designed to offer 100-year-level storm protection.

The project features 1271 enormous concrete vertical piles, each weighing in at 96 t and measuring 66 in. across and 144 ft long. They have been driven 130 ft deep and reinforced by 2600 concrete closure piles and 660 36-in. dia. steel batter piles to form the 7500 ft long central portion of the two-mile-long wall. Parapet walls on top of a precast concrete horizontal cap on the floodwall bring the barrier's height to 26 ft.

Lafarge supplied more than 70 000 cubic yards of Agilia® self-consolidating concrete for this project, barged to site. Agilia® is a self-levelling concrete that reduces construction time and cost by eliminating the need for vibration due to its fluid and stable properties. The concrete mix hardens to 4000 psi within 48 hours. It was placed in monolithic pours above and below the waterline and in cast-in-place piles.

The surge barrier was tested in August 2012 when Hurricane Isaac struck land in southeast Louisiana as a category 1 storm with sustained winds of 80 mph. The new barriers successfully reduced the risk of damage to local communities from storm surges.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently named the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier the 2014 award winner for outstanding civil engineering infrastructure project, recognising both its significant contributions to the civil engineering profession and to society as a whole. 

Adapted from press release by

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