St. Rose firm gets $17M contract to remove temporary Katrina structures

One of the sites where M.R. Pittman Group will remove the temporary Katrina structures.

A St. Rose engineering group has won a $17 million contract to remove the same temporary structures it installed to help provide 100-year flood protection until permanent ones could be built after Hurricane Katrina deluged Louisiana.

Chris Laiche, partner with M.R. Pittman Group, called the project – known as the Hurricane Risk Reduction System – a “pretty exciting opportunity.”

What’s been put in its place will provide protection for an anticipated 50 years against the 100-year storm surge, Laiche said.

“I know we’re a lot better off today than we were before the storm. No doubt about it,” he said. “The Corps has several projects coming to further enhance protection for St. Charles Parish, as well as St. John. It’s in the budget from now until 2020.”

M.R. Pittman, a civic contractor in St. Rose since 2015, is mostly about flood control, pump stations, and water and sewer treatment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Laiche said. The Katrina structure removal is a Corps contract.

“I know we’re a lot better off today than we were before the storm. No doubt about it.” – Chris Laiche

After Katrina, they installed these structures at three outfall canals along the New Orleans lakefront intended to last five to seven years, although they really lasted 12 years, he said. They withstood hurricanes Gustav, Ike, Isaac and Nate.

So now the company is removing them, and Laiche said they will try to sell some of the equipment that he said is in good shape for the “after market suppliers.” Much of it will go to scrap, he added, because it doesn’t have use after it’s cut out.

“This is the last big piece of this removal for post Katrina,” he said.

A $740 million project, the permanent pumps are in place. Removal of the temporary ones will begin in December and be completed by summer 2020, according to the Corps. The land will be returned to its natural look.

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