Construction is set to begin on the $603 million replacement of the navigation lock on the Industrial Canal in New Orleans, with two contracts already awarded, according to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. A $22.4 million construction contract for a major environmental clean-up and clearance of abandoned industrial sites in the East Bank Industrial Area has been awarded to Washington Group International Inc. of Boise, Idaho.
A $2.6 million contract to demolish the Galvez Street Wharf on the canal's west bank has been awarded to Virginia Wrecking Co. of Stapleton, Ala.. Demolition is slated to begin this month.The Port of New Orleans and the Corps of Engineers entered into a right-of-entry agreement in order to clear the way for construction to begin. The two entities have been at odds over the value of the port-owned Galvez Street Wharf and 184 adjacent acres that the corps needs to build the new lock.
Details still remain to be worked out for the Corps' purchase of the wharf and acreage owned by the port.
Port officials have been trying for years to replace the Industrial Canal lock connecting the Mississippi River with the France Road Container Terminal and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The lock is too small for any but the smallest ships, and barge operators encounter lengthy delays.
Col. Thomas Julich, the Corp's district engineer of the New Orleans District, called the developments 'a milestone' in efforts to replace the under-sized lock.
The new lock will be 1,200 feet long and 110 feet wide. The existing lock was opened to vessels in 1921 and measures 640 feet by 75 feet.
For the current fiscal year, Congress has appropriated a total of $16.3 million for the project. Cost sharing for the project originally was set forth in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986.