Archer Western and Alberici break ground on Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project
Belle Chasse, Louisiana – Archer Western Construction and joint venture partner Alberici Corporation (Archer Western/Alberici Joint Venture) joined Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), as well as several federal and state leaders, to officially break ground and begin construction on the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. The nearly $3 billion project is widely regarded as the most ambitious environmental restoration project in the state’s history.
Archer Western/Alberici Joint Venture will perform construction manager at-risk services for the first-of-its-kind project that will harness the land-building power of the Mississippi River to build and sustain up to 26,000 acres of wetlands in the Barataria Basin, an area experiencing some of the highest rates of land loss in the world.
"Today will be remembered as a critical turning point for Louisiana's coast,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will restore and rebuild thousands of acres of coastal land and provide better protection to our most vulnerable communities and critical infrastructure. I’m grateful to CPRA and our federal, state, and local partners for their decades-long effort to make this first-of-its-kind project a reality.”
(Rendering of Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion | credit: CPRA)
Sediment diversions are designed to mimic the natural processes that created Louisiana by reconnecting the Mississippi River to surrounding wetlands. Such projects have been called for in studies of Louisiana’s coast for more than 100 years, including each iteration of Louisiana’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
Project features include a controlled gate structure through the river’s levee, a manmade channel, and outfall structure in the basin. Construction is anticipated to take over five years to complete and is projected to produce an economic impact of nearly $1.5 billion in sales and approximately 12,400 jobs in the region.
"Archer Western is proud to partner with Alberici to restore this critical portion of coastal Louisiana’s ecosystem. Together, we stand committed to implement the highest standards of safety and quality across the project's duration," said David Casey, president at Archer Western Construction. “We look forward to working with the CPRA and all stakeholders to combat coastal erosion and deliver a restored environment that builds thousands of acres of new land and wildlife habitat, protects coastal communities and improves water quality for residents."
In addition to construction and operation, another major component of the project includes investments in communities and natural resources, like fisheries, that may be impacted by project operations. Mitigation and stewardship measures were developed based on feedback gathered from residents and stakeholders over the last several years. CPRA and its contractors have already started surveying activities in these communities, which are expected to continue through the fall of 2023. CPRA has also identified avenues and partnerships for $10 million that will support implementation of near-term fisheries stewardship measures. These measures were prioritized based on the ability to meet current, urgent needs of the fisheries and expanded effectiveness with near-term implementation. Implementation of the project’s mitigation plan is an ongoing process that will take place before, during, and after project construction and operations.
"The project represents unmatched land building power and long-term sustainability,” said CPRA Deputy Executive Director, Greg Grandy. “We’re not only building a globally significant infrastructure project that will serve us for decades, but furthering Louisiana’s position as a leader and innovator in environmental restoration, coastal resilience, and water management.”
SOURCE: Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards