RECONSTRUCTION OF New Orleans' flood defences has fallen behind schedule, the US Army Corps of Engineers confirmed this week.
Corps engineers managing the rebuilding of the city's levees after Hurricane Katrina have identifi 10 contracts where they are concerned about delays.
Contractors must restore the city's flood defences to a pre-Katrina level before this year's hurricane season starts on 1 June as part of Task Force Guardian, a £440M US Federal government project compromising 59 contracts.
Task Force Guardian project manager Brett Herr said that long design lead times had delayed construction and that Corps engineers were meeting contractors regularly to see how to get back on schedule.
'There are numerous reasons why a contractor might fall behind schedule, including shortage of available labourers and equipment, delays in obtaining materials, adverse weather, modifications to the original design, and changed site conditions, ' said Herr.
He said he was looking at reducing the scope of some contracts and giving some work to other contractors.
There was also the possibility of asking contractors to work 24 hours a day and of using government hired labour forces to provide assistance.
With just three months to go, the work, which includes installing flood control gates at the mouths of the city's canals at Lake Pontchartrain, is only 30% to 40% complete.