Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Design flaws blamed for New Orleans flood failure

Design flaws or faulty construction were to blame for the failure of New Orleans flood walls in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, experts believe.
They rejected the official explanation that storm surges caused the system to collapse and said the decades-old levee system should have kept the city dry.

Deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Centre Ivor van Heerden said the real scandal of Katrina was the 'catastrophic structural failure' of the barriers.

He said: 'We are absolutely convinced that those flood walls were never overtopped.'

The Army Corps of Engineers has claimed that storm surges topped the concrete walls near Lake Pontchartrain and then undermined the levees they sat upon, sending water cascading into the city.

The walls were never tested for their ability to cope with such powerful cascades of water because of budget restraints, officials claim.

Experts highlighted a 'debris line' they said indicated that the top height of Katrina's waves was at least four feet below the top of the levees.

Contact the newsdesk