Plaquemines Parish New Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion

Wetlands in the area have suffered with the building of levees along the Mississippi River. The levees have stopped the flow of sediment that is needed to build and maintain the natural wetlands. The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) plans to build the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion in Plaquemines Parish to help with this natural occurrence.

The $800 million dollar project will be constructed by the Louisiana Diversion Company LLC (LDC) which will comprise several partnering firms. These firms include Brown & Root Industrial Services LLC of Baton Rouge; Massman Construction Co. of Overland Park, Kansas; Parsons Construction Group Inc., of Westminster, Colorado; and Traylor Brothers Inc. of Evansville, Indiana.

These teams have major local projects under their belts including the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish; the West Closure Complex in Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes; the three Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps stations in New Orleans; the Chalmette Levee Loop levee and flood-wall project in St. Bernard; and the widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish.

“This competitive process produced three quality proposals from experienced local and national firms that all have a strong presence in Louisiana,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase, in a news release announcing the contract. “The state is confident LDC brings the necessary experience and team members needed to construct this transformational restoration project.”

The construction is set to begin in October 2023 and is projected to be completed by June 2028. The major project will be built along the Mississippi River along the east bank at Will’s Point. This area which is 68 miles above Head of Passes will be designed to collect the sediment rich water from the Mississippi and direct it eastward to the Breton Sound Basin where it will restore the wetlands. The diversion will carry a maximum of 75,000 cubic feet per second of sediment and water during high-river periods.

Before construction can begin, LDC has hired Stantec, (based out of Canada) to head up the design. The $12.4 million contract with Stantec will include designing temporary works, reviewing the construct-ability of the diversion structure and giving an estimate of project costs for designs being prepared by another team of contractors led by Stantec Inc.

The project falls under Louisiana’s Construction Mangament At-Risk (CMAR) which imposes a set of rules for major infrastructure projects. For this reason, the LDC will be part of the early design process which will speed up construction and reduce costs.

“Using the CMAR method of project delivery brings the construction contractor to the table during the design phase of the project,” said CPRA diversion program Brad Barth in the news release. “This early collaboration between the contractor and designer provides a unique opportunity to reduce project time, costs and risks.” “While the CMAR delivery method hasn’t been used often in Louisiana, it gives us the best opportunity to construct this large and complex project in the safest and most cost-effective manner,” said Chip Kline, chairman of the CPRA board of directors and coastal adviser to Gov. John Be. Edwards, in the news release. “We’re in a race against time, and CPRA is committed to finding innovative and ambitious solutions to address Louisiana’s coastal crisis.”

Money for the project will be provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and BP and Transocean.

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