New Orleans GIWW & West Closure Project

The Challenge: Design, Develop and Deliver Eleven 20,000 cfs Pumps For Flood Protection Around New Orleans

Fairbanks Morse Pump pulled out all the stops to design, engineer and develop the pump you see here. The goal: Completion by June, 2011.

But we aren’t going it alone. In fact, with a department of defense priority rating on the project, no company could realistically do so in time for hurricane season 2011.

But there is one company that could design, develop and manage the whole process … and that’s Fairbanks Morse Pump.

Developing The Possibilities

We’ve invested extensively in R&D over the years and applied our 13000 specific speed pump hydraulics used successfully in the 17th Street Canal project to this project. That work gave us the ability to very quickly run model tests necessary to develop the 140-inch Vertical Propeller Pump you see going into a pumping station bay at the West Closure Complex.

About GIWW & West Closure Complex

Originally constructed from the 1920s to 1949, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) is one of America’s most remarkable transportation arteries. Linking deepwater ports, tributaries, rivers and bayous, the GIWW stretches for more than 1300 miles from the Mexican border at Brownsville, TX along the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico to Apalachicola, FL.

The Louisiana segment stretches for 302.4 miles from the Texas-Louisiana state line in the west to the Louisiana-Mississippi state line in the east. The New Orleans District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the GIWW in Louisiana, and maintains its six locks for both navigation and agricultural purposes. Channel dimensions range from 125-150 feet wide with a 12 foot depth.

About 157 million tons of bulk cargo passes through the six locks in the New Orleans District. These include: Algiers Lock, Calcasieu Lock, Harvey Lock, Inner Harbor Navigation Lock, Leland Bowman Lock and Port Allen Lock.

Learn more.


We’ve got an interesting story to tell – from the initial design and model testing conducted to how we marshaled the expertise of companies throughout America to answer the call. 

Learn more about each milestone Fairbanks Morse Pump has completed on the West Closure Complex in New Orleans.

First Pump Delivered to the Job Site
May 2010

First Formed Suction Intake Installation
April 2010

Possibilities Phase
February 2009

Prototyping & Model Testing
September 2009

Concurrent Engineering & Accelerated Scheduling
November 2009

Hurricane Katrina
August 29, 2005

Gulf Intracoastal

GIWW West Closure


Protecting New Orleans from Flooding

The Future

Learn how the installation of three other pumps could keep New Orleans above water even during category five storms.


More infromation and resources about GIWW & West Closure Complex.


Learn more about all contributors to the GIWW & West Closure Complex