New Orleans' $15B Levees Nearly Done

But plenty of residents, experts say they're just not enough
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2010 2:17 PM CDT
New Orleans' $15B Levees Nearly Done
In this 2009 file photo, work is under way at the storm surge barrier on Lake Borgne just east of New Orleans.   (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Five years and $15 billion later, the US Army Corps of Engineers is just about done with a massive ring of protection designed to protect New Orleans from another Katrina. It's a 350-mile network of levees and flood walls that is by all accounts a massive improvement over the previous patchwork system. ("We’re not even in the same universe anymore," says one project engineer.) But as the New York Times explains, plenty of skeptics remain.

“Do I trust them? No," says one Jefferson Parish resident. "How can I trust somebody who makes that big of an error?" And a Berkeley professor who's an expert on levee failures says the new system may indeed offer protection from a once-in-100-years flood, but as Katrina proved, that's “not even close to what is needed.” (More Katrina aftermath stories.)

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