Weren't you told as a lad that "patience is a virtue"? You know everything takes longer than expected. There are always roadblocks to progress. But you're right. I, too, can barely remember a time when there was not a disruption in that area. But take heart. In spite of delays in completion due to bad weather, the project is coming to an end -- perhaps even in September.
Our Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) is always working somewhere to keep us as dry as possible, and Drainage Pumping Station No. 1, the city's oldest pumping station, is being expanded and renovated. The project, which costs around $18 million, involves the enlargement of the discharge basin and the addition of two new drainage pumps. Two 1,200-cubic-feet-per-second pumps are being installed, and when everything is finished, the station will be able to pump 2.6 million gallons per minute. An addition is being built to house the new pumps, and the work connected with the improvements involves changes in existing roads, bridges, outflow channels, utilities, buildings and other facilities. This, of course, creates a big mess for a long time.
In August 1999, the pumping station at Broad Street, built in 1910, was renamed to honor Albert Baldwin Wood, the S&WB engineer who designed the world-famous Wood Screw Pump. Wood's first pumps were built in 1913 and larger versions came in 1928. It's remarkable to know that his original pumps are still going strong today. But the ongoing construction will improve the pumping capacity of the station by 538,500 gallons per minute. This certainly makes me feel better.
You may have also noticed as you drive around the city that there are many other major drainage improvement projects going on. These are part of the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Program (SELA) and are a joint effort between the S&WB and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In addition to the expansion of the pumping station, new canals are being built beneath Napoleon Avenue from Fontainebleau to South Claiborne and beneath South Claiborne from Nashville to Louisiana avenues. Elsewhere in the city, we will also see other drainage improvements, such as the new pumping station and canals in the Hollygrove area.
The projects will cost $140 million, but 75 percent will be federally funded.
By the way, the Superdome took about four years from the date of the groundbreaking until it opened in 1975. The Great Pyramid of Giza, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, took about 20 years to complete. So it looks like the time to complete the work on the pumping station will be somewhere in between. And won't it be a wonder!
Not long ago, there was a photo in The Times-Picayune of a new double-hulled oil tanker built across the river in Avondale. What is the cost of this ship?
As you might guess, oil tankers do not come cheap. And they are never on sale.
In 1997, Litton Avondale signed a contract with Polar Tankers, a subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum Company, to construct two double-hulled oil tankers with options for three more.
The first ship, the Polar Endeavor, was delivered in April 2001 at a cost of $165 million, the cost of each of the second and third tankers as well. However, a fourth vessel will be a bit pricier -- $197 million -- and the fifth ship will cost a whopping $205.5 million. I told you they were expensive.
These tankers are very big -- each is 895 feet long and 152 feet wide. The ships can each hold a little over one million barrels of oil and will be used to transport oil that is tapped in fields in Alaska to West Coast refineries.