About GIWW & West Closure Complex

The Big Picture

In 2011, a 350-mile ring of levees, flood walls, gates and pumps will provide a first line of defense against the effects of a severe storm.  This system will markedly improve the patchwork of levees and walls that were breached during Hurricane Katrina.  The West Closure Complex (4 on the map shown) is a major component for the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction project that will minimize the risk of storm surges from entering the Harvey and Algiers canals. The project is located across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway just south of the junction of the Harvey and Algiers canals on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

The West Closure Complex will reduce the risk of storm surge to residences and business in three parishes on the west bank of the Mississippi River. These include Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines.

The 19,000 cubic feet per second storm water drainage pumping station – the largest of its type in the nation –will also feature two navigable floodgates, as well as levee and flood wall construction. In addition, the project is adjacent to an Environmental Protection Agency wetland area of national significance; therefore, construction impacts on this area are being kept to a minimum.


The project is located approximately one mile south of the confluence of the Harvey and Algiers canals on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The New Orleans District chose IntraCoastal Constructors (GIC) to develop the site. GIC is a joint venture formed by Kiewit Corporation and Traylor Bros. Inc., two of the nation’s largest self-performing contractors.


A 225-foot navigable floodgate is being constructed to ensure safe navigation on the highly trafficked GIWW and ties in to the pumping station and a floodwall. When the gate is closed during a storm event, a 19,000 cubic feet per second pump station will evacuate water pumped into the Harvey and Algiers canals by 9 other pump stations along the canals.

Harvey and Algiers Water Into The Pump Station

In New Orleans, the Harvey and Algiers canals converge at the West Closure Complex.   60% of the flow comes down the Algiers canal, 40% of the flow comes down the Harvey canal. The peak rating that flow happens at is 19,000 cubic feet per second.

With construction of the West Closure Complex, the Corps of Engineers will be preventing storm surge from backing up into those canals via the closure gate.  Once the gate is closed, you prevent the storm surge; however, you still have water collection, which makes it necessary to pump water past the gate.  That is the purpose of the West Closure Complex pumping station – and why Fairbanks Morse Pump was tasked with development of an effective pumping solution.