The Inner Harbor Navigational Canal Floodwall in New Orleans is the winner of the Deep Foundations Institute’s Annual Outstanding Project Award.

The project is a key element in the largest design-build civil-works construction ever undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect New Orleans from hurricane storm surges such as those that battered the city in 2009 during Katrina. Traylor-Massman-Weeks LLC, the Evansville, Ind.-based foundation contractor that nominated the project, was honored at the awards banquet during DFI’s 36th Annual Meeting in Boston on Oct. 18. Others involved in the project:

  • Owner – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • Project engineer – Ben C. Gerwick Inc., Oakland, Calif.

  • General contractor – Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group, Baton Rouge, La.

  • Foundation engineer – Eustis Engineering, Metairie, La.

The $330 million floodwall was the largest single contract in the overall Corps’ program. The selection panel recognized the magnitude of the work, the severe site constraints and the accelerated schedule, citing the construction ingenuity of the contractor, Traylor-Massman-Weeks LLC. The work began only four days after the order to proceed on May 5, 2009. Workers drilled 1,200 large-diameter concrete piles 66 feet in diameter and 144 feet long to form the foundation for the floodwall. A second similarly configured pile wall followed 20 days later, and the two elements, along with 2,538 concrete closure piles set into jet grout columns, and 645 steel batter piles, completed the foundation.

 Traylor-Massman-Weeks’ challenges were compounded by the difficult project access. Equipment, material and workers had to get to the site by water. A custom-engineered trestle supported materials and equipment during the work. The trestle itself sat on steel friction pile bents with the capacity to carry loads of more than 250 tons. Crane rails with alignments of fractions of an inch were a key part of the construction process, allowing repetitive removal, reinstall and engineered adaption to proceed swiftly. The contractor accrued more than 1 million man-hours and zero lost time accidents to finish the work within the 18 months. The entire project is a tribute to the ingenuity of the contractors and engineers for this urgently needed floodwall project.

The jurors also bestowed special recognition awards to five other outstanding projects and the nominating companies as follows:

  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, Boston, by foundation engineer GEI Consultants, Woburn, Mass.

  • Christopher S. Bond kcICON Bridge in Kansas City by foundation engineer Dan Brown and Associates, P.C., Sequatchie, Tenn.

  • Rio Puerto Nuevo-Bechara Industrial Canal, San Juan, Puerto Rico, by foundation contractor Morris Shea Bridge Co., Irondale, Ala.

  • The MET Development, Miami, by project engineer Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc., Elmwood Park, N.J.

  • Heron Tower, London, by foundation contactor Cementation Skanska, London.

The DFI panel’s selection criteria included ingenuity of foundation design and construction technique, and how the design/technique met owner’s needs and solved geotechnical conditions.