AGC Credits Corps, Allies for Success of Post-Katrina Changes

The Associated General Contractors of America yesterday praised the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and federal, state, and local entities for making changes after Hurricane Katrina that mitigated the powerful winds, surge, and rain unleashed by Hurricane Gustav this week. "Thanks to the work of the Corps of Engineers, government officials at all levels, and the hard work of the construction industry, the New Orleans area has the best hurricane and storm damage reduction in its history," said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of AGC.

Since Katrina hit three years ago, construction contractors completed the repair and restoration of 220 miles of floodwalls and levees. Floodwalls have been reinforced at numerous locations, I-walls replaced by stronger T-walls at breach sites, floodwalls have been armored, and transition points between flood walls and levees have been significantly strengthened, AGC said, although it acknowledged gaps in the system remain and some areas of the Gulf Coast remain vulnerable. Contractors are now halfway through a six-year project to provide New Orleans with a 100-year level of hurricane and storm damage reduction by 2011, the association said.

AGC also said this week's success highlights the need for substantially more investment in critical environmental and public safety. "America needs these investments now to help spur our economy and keep America strong and safe," Sandherr said. "AGC will continue to lead the way for the construction industry and will work to emphasize the massive need for additional investment in levees, locks, and dams and other critical infrastructure improvements."

AGC represents more than 33,000 firms, including 7,500 general contractors and 12,500 specialty contracting firms. For information, visit www.agc.org.

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