The Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity (LPV) system is a frontline hurricane risk reduction system that extends from the East Bank of St. Charles to southern St. Bernard Parish and ties into the Mississippi River Levee system at both ends. In St. Charles Parish, the LPV starts at the Bonnet Carre Spillway with the Bayou Trepagnier Complex floodwall tie in and extends through the West Return Wall, providing protection for Norco, New Sarpy, Destrehan and St. Rose.
The West Shore Lake Pontchartrain (WSLP) system will provide risk reduction measures to address tropical/hurricane storm surge events in St. John the Baptist and St. Charles Parishes.
Upon completion of the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain levee, the East Bank of St. Charles Parish will receive protection from both the existing Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity system and the proposed West Shore Lake Pontchartrain system. Both are federal hurricane protection systems. St. Charles Parish and the Pontchartrain Levee District (PLD) are responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the portions of these systems in St. Charles Parish as construction is completed.
100-Year Hurricane Protection
The St. Charles Parish 100-Year Hurricane Protection project enlarged and raised the existing LPV levee system to a designed 100-year level of protection against a Category 3 hurricane.
The levee system, located north of Airline Highway, is oriented in an east-west direction and separates the developed areas in St. Charles Parish from the approximately 26,000 acres of wetlands on the north (or flood) side of the levee, known as the LaBranche Wetlands.
On the levee system’s eastern limit, the levee transitions into the Jefferson/St. Charles Parish Return Levee just south of the east-west runway extension of the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Generally the levee parallels Airline Highway to where, at the levee system’s western limits, it traverses around the Shell Oil company tank farm and transitions into the east guide levee of the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway.
This hurricane protection project includes approximately 9.75 miles of earthen levee, five drainage structures, two swing gates, two pre-cast concrete access bridges and a floodwall under Interstate 310.
In addition to the upgrades to the LPV system, PLD and St. Charles Parish have partnered with state agencies and private funding sources to increase interior drainage capacity on the East Bank of St. Charles Parish.
The Bayou Trepagnier Pump Station, located in Norco, was completed in 2004 and is capable of pumping up to 850 cubic feet per second. The Cross Bayou Pump Station, located in Destrehan and completed in 2011, was a partnership amongst the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Pontchartrain Levee District, Motiva, Shell and St. Charles Parish government to provide flood protection and storm water drainage on the East Bank of St. Charles Parish. The Cross Bayou Pump Station is a 100-year interior drainage capacity station, capable of pumping up to 1,300 cubic feet per second.
Other East Bank external, temporary pump stations are:
- Almedia Structure
- Walker Structure
There are currently plans for two new pump stations on the East Bank – one in Montz and the other in St. Rose.
West Shore Lake Pontchartrain
In response to flooding on the East Bank of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes following events such as Hurricane Isaac – during which I-10 remained submerged and impassible for a number of days – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fast-tracked an existing study to evaluate the possibility of building a hurricane protection system on the West Shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
The Hurricane and Storm Risk Reduction System for the West Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, completed in August 2013, recommended construction of an 18-mile levee with four pump stations. The levee would begin at the west guide levee of the Bonnet Carré Spillway, extend to Hope Canal, then head south toward the Mississippi River Levee. The proposed West Shore levee will protect the communities of Montz, LaPlace, Reserve and Garyville. The project is awaiting final approval and funding as of June 2015.