Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Lock Replacement
Official Project Name
A U.S. District Judge has ordered that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cease all work on the Industrial Canal Lock Replacement Project, including mitigation planning, until the Corps completes a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the project. The Corps in doing a General Reevaluation Report.
Replacement of the lock was originally authorized in the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1956, but many years of planning and community involvement were required before Congress authorized construction in 1998 When Public Law 84-255 took effect. Planning for the new lock was very controversial with earlier design alternatives involving significant loss of wetlands in St. Bernard Parish or major disruptions to the densely urbanized areas adjoining the existing lock in New Orleans.
Congress approved the project as a “Construction New-Start” in fiscal year 1999. The real estate was purchased from the Port of New Orleans for $16.8 million. The final act of sale took place Dec. 19, 2002. A contract for the design of the lock and related features was awarded to URS Corp. in May 2002. Work on the contract began in February 2003. On July 30, 2005, the Corps began to collect soil, sediment, and water samples in the canal to ensure the proper management of material that will be dredged later in the lock project.
Benefit to the Community
The work of the committee has also resulted in modifications to project plans that will even further reduce the impact of new lock construction. For example, specific routes will be designated for construction vehicles to minimize traffic congestion during construction. There will be public access to new open space created by the new lock, and landscaping features will be introduced to soften visual impacts of the construction. These modifications will not be done at the expense of the mitigation program. Rather, these improvements are the result of open communication between the community and the Corps about minimizing impact.
River and Harbor Act of 1956 (original authorization), and the Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA) of 1986 (re-authorizing the project and established cost sharing requirements) and 1996 (authorizing the Community Impact Mitigation Plan).
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