Stantec, with offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, has been awarded a contract for a key component of Louisiana’s master plan to build new land along the state's coast by sending sediment-rich water from the Mississippi River.

Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority selected Stantec to provide engineering, geotechnical, surveying and other technical design services for the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion project. The contract price will be negotiated, based on the scope of the work, the authority said. 

The project is part of the Mississippi River Mid-Basin Sediment Diversion Program, which also includes the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. The two controlled sediment diversions are aimed at reconnecting the Mississippi River with its delta and help build, maintain and sustain wetlands.

The projects complement billions of dollars that have been or will be invested in coastal protection and restoration projects, such as marsh creation projects, which use Mississippi River sediments dredged from the river.

The Mid-Breton structure will be located in Plaquemines Parish on the east bank of the Mississippi River near Wills Point. The diversion complex is expected to include an inlet channel, a gated structure at the Mississippi River levee, a conveyance channel, outlet channel complex, interior drainage improvements and highway.

The Breton Basin is an area that has experienced significant land loss due to sediment deprivation, hydrologic alteration, subsidence, sea level rise and salt water intrusion. Since the Mississippi River levees were built in the 1930s, the Breton Basin and Mississippi River Delta have lost about 447,000 acres of land.

Engineering and design of the sediment diversion project will begin immediately and run concurrently with the permitting process required by the National Environmental Policy Act that is being led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction will begin soon after the engineering phase and the permitting process are complete.

In October, the coastal authority issued a request for eligible firms interested in the engineering and design portion of the project. Teams submitted written proposals and a selection committee evaluated the proposals. In January, the coastal authority conducted oral presentations with the teams.

“We were fortunate to have high quality proposals making this an extremely highly competitive process. The state is confident Stantec will bring the local experience and global expertise needed to help us design a project that will be transformational for coastal Louisiana,” said CPRA Executive Director Michael Ellis.

Stantec brings more than 40 years of local experience with offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and has implemented engineering and design solutions throughout south Louisiana.

“Louisiana leads the world in planning and executing projects to protect and restore critical coastal landscapes. We at Stantec have a deep passion for supporting and improving critical infrastructure and the natural ecosystems that are important to the communities we serve,” said Steve Mathies, Stantec global practice leader for coastal restoration.

The Stantec team will serve a critical role in an innovative project delivery method known as construction management at risk. Under this model, the coastal authority will hire the construction contractor during the early design phase to collaborate with the project design team on engineering, constructability, scheduling and costing. It is anticipated that the authority will release a request for qualifications for the services construction management at risk in the first quarter of 2019.