There are a few things that are undeniable about New Orleans. It’s not only one of the country’s oldest cities but also one with a deeply rich and unique culture, stemming from a hybrid of African American, French, and Spanish influences and reflected by its characteristically vibrant streets.
But over the past few decades, the city has become well-known for another trait: its resilience amid the devasting impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms. From 1994 to 2019, the city saw over $3.6 billion in total property damage as a result of the storms, including over $3.5 billion resulting from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. Since then, the city has worked to evolve by upgrading its infrastructure and finding new ways to serve its residents.
1. Improving Roads
In 2015, New Orleans completed a scientific assessment of city-owned streets. It reported that much of the city’s existing infrastructure challenges were compounded by the hurricanes it faced, noting “the deterioration of the City’s road network was significantly accelerated due to the extended time period that much of the City was submerged under floodwaters, and subsequent heavy traffic loading for debris removal and emergency and construction vehicles.”
It also found that about 65.3 percent of the city’s paved roads network were below standards and that billions of dollars would be needed to improve them. The findings were a catalyst for the RoadWork initiative, which has aimed to rebuild 400 miles of roads and infrastructure in more than 200 projects. Since 2018, 171 projects have been completed with an estimated value of $668 million. According to a city website, there are currently 50 more projects under construction.
One of the stakeholders that’s played a part in pushing forward post-Katrina has been Pivotal Engineering LLC. Its team of civil engineers and designers inspected over 2,500 structures for structural integrity and has designed major street improvements, including full utility replacement, drainage upgrades, lighting upgrades, and land/streetscapes.
LaNitrah Hasan, director of project delivery for the city, has also been instrumental in seeing many of the city’s improvement projects through as a leader responsible for securing bids, mapping the strategic vision for projects, facilitating construction, and more.
2. Upgrading the New Orleans’s Sewer and Water Systems
Efforts have also been underway to improve the systems pump, sewer, and water systems, some of which are at least 40 years old and in some cases 100 years old.
Sulzer helped the city upgrade one of its older pump stations on Oak Street, which is one of two facilities that draws water from the Mississippi River and transfers it for treatment and distribution to homes and businesses across the city. The company noted that the job was a challenge because the station, built in the 1920s, is on the National Historic Register, and work had to be done without modifying the building’s fabric. However, with collaboration between the company and city workers, the pump is expected to be more reliable and to provide energy savings.
In 2019, Philadelphia Gear by Timken modernized one of the city’s oldest and largest pump stations by upgrading all gearing, bearings, and lubrication systems to meet engine rate and ratio requirements on all eight of the location’s pumps.
Meanwhile, other contractors have been rehabilitating aging sanitary sewer manholes and pipes, according to the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. As of 2020, 5.1 million feet of sanitary sewer pipe have been inspected while over 291,000 feet of sewer pipe have been rehabilitated. Meanwhile, over 19,200 sewer manholes have been inspected and 2,600 have been rehabilitated.
3. Addressing Food Insecurity During COVID-19
On June 30, 2020, the city announced it would start the COVID-19 Meal Assistance Program, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that would engage local restaurants to provide meals to eligible residents who were experiencing food insecurity as a result of the crisis.
For twelve months, the city, its restaurant partners, and other stakeholders worked to provide 2 meals per day to the homeless, children under 18, seniors, and those with special medical needs. At the end of its run in July 2021, the program had funded nearly 4 million meals to more than 24,000 New Orleanians.
The program not only helped give individuals impacted by COVID-19 access to nutritious meals but also reemployed several hundred residents who were put out of work because of the pandemic.
“I’m grateful to our partners at FEMA who agreed that meal delivery during the height of the pandemic was a priority to keep people safe,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a press release. “This truly historic program has served our residents, workers, and restaurants well, and for that I am so proud.”
MB3 and Civix bring a broad range of expertise to help the City of New Orleans manage infrastructure funding, including grant management, program management, project management, and regulatory compliance. MB3 and Civix are proud to work with LaNitrah Hasan and her team as they design, launch, and manage federally funded programs from start to finish that meet the city’s unique recovery and resilience needs.
Pivotal Engineering, LLC is a full-service engineering design firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana, that has been serving the community for over a decade. Pivotal has established a reputation for providing superior service to its clients and delivering quality work on time and within budget. Pivotal’s principals and staff have in excess of 200 years of combined experience in architectural, civil, mechanical, electrical, structural, and environmental engineering as well as construction management, construction inspection, and program/project management. Existing and past client types include both public and private sector entitles across the Gulf South region.
Pivotal Engineering, LLC is a certified Small Business Enterprise with both the Small Business Administration and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. Furthermore, Pivotal is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise with City of New Orleans and Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. Pivotal Engineering is also certified by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development as a Small Entrepreneurship SE (Hudson Initiative) firm.