Eminent civil engineers to review New Orleans hurricane protection system

Nov. 22, 2005
Several prominent engineers appointed to New Orleans Hurricane Protection System External Review Panel, including sociologist Dr. Dennis Mileti, an expert on consequence analysis. University of Texas at Dallas President David Daniel, Ph.D., P.E, a renowned civil engineer and member of the National Academy of Engineering, will chair the panel. The study is expected to take approximately eight months...

RESTON, VA, Nov. 22, 2005 -- The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced the team members of an external review panel commissioned as part of the federal effort to provide credible answers to the fundamental questions concerning the performance of the hurricane protection system in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Along with the ASCE external review panel, the federal response includes an Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET), organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a National Research Council (NRC) independent review panel, convened at the direction of the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld also authorized ASCE to convene an external review panel to conduct continuing expert peer review of the work performed by IPET, and to report findings directly to NRC.

University of Texas at Dallas President David Daniel, Ph.D., P.E, a renowned civil engineer and member of the National Academy of Engineering, will chair the external review panel. Panel members are recognized authorities in engineering and science. In addition, the panel includes sociologist Dr. Dennis Mileti, an expert on consequence analysis.

The panelists are:
-- Coastal Engineering: Billy Edge, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, Head, Coastal and Ocean Division, Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University
-- Consequence Analysis: Dennis Mileti, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder and Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder
-- Geotechnical Engineering: James K. Mitchell, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.M.ASCE, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
-- Hydraulics: Clifford A. Pugh, P.E., Group Manager, Water Resources Research Laboratory, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
-- Hydrology: William H. Espey, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., President, Espey Consultants, Inc.
-- Levees/Flood Control (Netherlands): Jurjen Battjes, Emeritus Professor in Fluid Mechanics, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
-- Public Agency:
• Christine F. Andersen, P.E., Director of Public Works, City of Long Beach
• David N. Kennedy, P.E., F.ASCE, Consultant and (ret.) Director, California Department of Water Resources
-- Pumping System: Thomas L. Jackson, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, Senior Vice President, DMJM Harris
-- Risk Management: Steven G. Vick, P.E., Consulting Geotechnical Engineer
-- Soil Structure Interaction: George Tamaro, P.E., Hon.M.ASCE, Partner, Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers
-- Urban Drainage: Robert G. Traver, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Villanova University

The ASCE external review panel will provide an objective technical review of the IPET report findings. The scope of work will include:

• Data collection about the condition of the hurricane protection systems, before and after Hurricane Katrina (An ASCE assessment team was dispatched to New Orleans from October 4-15 to study physical evidence and collect field data. The preliminary data report was released on Nov. 2.);
• Review of project construction and maintenance;
• Numerical modeling to characterize the storm surge;
• Analysis of floodwalls, pumping stations and levee performance;
• Analysis of the impacts of economic decisions associated with hurricane protection systems; and
• Examination of the engineering and operational risk and reliability of the system.

In response to his appointment as chair, Dr. Daniel commented, "I am deeply honored to be entrusted with this great responsibility. This very important and necessary review process will provide technically sound and credible assessments that will prove invaluable to the region and nation as we move forward in rebuilding New Orleans' hurricane protection system."

The study is expected to take approximately eight months. All three panels' findings will be made available to the public. For more information about the external review panel and biographical information about the team members, visit www.asce.org.

ASCE is widely known for its infrastructure assessments and reports, including Building Performance Assessments of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Murrah Federal Building, and its technical assessments following earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Founded in 1852, ASCE represents more than 139,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society.


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