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Rendering of 17th Street closure structure, as part of the Potomac Park Levee System.

Rendering of 17th Street closure structure, as part of the Potomac Park Levee System. (Photo by USACE)

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One mouth (approximately 10 feet tall) of the 17th Street Closure, Potomac Levee Project, Washington, D.C. This project will protect critical infrastructure downtown like the Federal Triangle from potential flooding of the Potomac River.

One mouth (approximately 10 feet tall) of the 17th Street Closure, Potomac Levee Project, Washington, D.C. This project will protect critical infrastructure downtown like the Federal Triangle from potential flooding of the Potomac River. (Photo by Sarah Gross)

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Photo showing location of 17th Street closure

Photo showing location of 17th Street closure (Photo by USACE Courtesy Photo)

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An example post and panel closure structure, similar to the 17th Street temporary closure structure.

An example post and panel closure structure, similar to the 17th Street temporary closure structure. (Photo by USACE)

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Stone cladding on the 17th Street floodwall was designed to blend in with the historic landscape of the National Mall.

Stone cladding on the 17th Street floodwall was designed to blend in with the historic landscape of the National Mall. (Photo by Sarah Gross)

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17th Street Closure project site map, as part of the Potomac Park Levee System.

17th Street Closure project site map, as part of the Potomac Park Levee System. (Photo by USACE)

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Rendering of 17th Street Closure with posts in place.

Rendering of 17th Street Closure with posts in place. (Photo by USACE)

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Rendering of 17th Street Levee

Rendering of 17th Street Levee (Photo by USACE)

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AUTHORIZATION: Washington, DC & Vicinity Local Flood Protection Project - Flood Control Act of 1936 and 1946; Section 301 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996 authorized project modifications per the 1992 General Design Memorandum (GDM); and Section 309 of WRDA 1999 increased authorized project cost to $5.965 million (Oct. 1997 price levels).

TYPE OF PROJECT: Flood Risk Management

PROJECT PHASE: Construction

CONGRESSIONAL INTEREST: Delegate Holmes-Norton (D.C.) 

NON-FEDERAL SPONSOR: N/A – the project is located on Federal lands.

BACKGROUND: The 17th Street closure is part of the Potomac Park Levee System, which is part of the larger Washington D.C. and Vicinity Local Flood Protection Project. The project is built and regulated by the Corps, and owned and operated by the National Park Service. The system provides flood risk reduction from river flooding and storm surge flooding of the Potomac River.

The original Potomac Park Levee System was Congressionally authorized to provide flood risk reduction for a flood event up to 700,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on the Potomac River. The project was completed in 1939 and relied on sandbags and earthen fill to form a temporary closure across 17th St. In January 2007, the Corps determined that the original temporary closure consisting of sandbags, Jersey barriers and plastic sheeting, previously approved by the Corps, was unreliable for reducing flood risk from the Potomac River and gave the system an unacceptable rating. This unacceptable rating initiated a Regulatory procedure that led FEMA to “de-accredit” the entire Potomac Park Levee system. In September 2010, FEMA released new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) that show the downtown area without flood protection. With guidance from the Corps, the District of Columbia initiated design of a more reliable removable post and panel closure structure in response to the FIRM revisions. The Corps received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to finalize design and award the construction contract. Construction began January 2011 for a total estimated project cost of approximately $9.4 million.

The removable closure structure consists of 27 aluminum panels and eight steel posts, and connects to stone-clad concrete floodwalls on both sides.  The temporary nature of the closure provides a 140-foot-wide opening allowing traffic to flow along 17th Street when there is no threat of high water. If there is a risk of high water, the closure structure would be erected by NPS to close off the street for continuous protection across the levee system. Stone cladding on the 17th Street closure’s concrete floodwalls will blend in with the historical features in the surrounding area.

Upon completion of the 17th Street closure structure, the Corps will begin the Regulatory process of “Certification” of the Potomac Park levee system for FEMA accreditation. This “Certification” will establish that the levee system is capable of providing flood risk reduction to the protected area of the district from  a 1 in 100 chance per year event (100-year flood),  or the equivalent of approximately 457,000 cfs with a required minimum freeboard of 3 feet.  With Corps “Certification,” FEMA can begin the process of revising the Flood Insurance Rate maps (FIRMS), showing a significant reduction in flooding from the Potomac River.

STATUS: Construction contract to build the 17th Street closure in the amount of $4.6 million is scheduled for completion fall 2014. The Corps will perform a levee system evaluation to ensure it meets flood-risk requirements and will provide FEMA with an evaluation report to include the ability of NPS to properly install the 17th Street closure segment and operate and maintain levee system. If there is a positive rating, FEMA will “accredit” the levee system and eventually issue a new FIRM for the district.

Upcoming related work as part of Phase II plans for the system includes providing a small floodwall at 2nd and P streets near Ft. McNair and raising the existing grade along 23rd Street to eliminate sandbag closures at these locations. Additionally, Phase II would raise the Potomac Park Levee system up to a uniform elevation to provide flood risk reduction up to the Congressionally-authorized 700,000 cubic feet per second flow-rate event, or approximately 19 feet above sea level - which also equates to a 1 in 500 chance per year event. These plans still need Congressional funding; however, the Phase II work will not hold up the certification of the levee system for FEMA accreditation.

BUDGET ($):

 

 Construction

Total Estimated Cost

 

Federal Cost Estimate

 $ 10,450,0001

 

 

Federal Funds Data

 

Allocations thru FY 20122

 9,431,700

Allocation for FY 2013

 0

President Budget FY 20143  0
Allocation for FY 2014  0

Balance to Complete

769,100

Notes:

1 This total cost estimate is constrained to the currently authorized project cost limit.

2 Of these total allocations, $3,121,835 were Investigations PED funds and $5,296,009 were Construction funds were provided under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

3 The President typically sends the budget to Congress in February each year. Upon release, budget amounts for the USACE Civil Works programs and specified projects are posted online at the HQUSACE website in a program budget press book at: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Budget.aspx.

SCHEDULE:

FY 2013 Completed Work:  Prepared a draft Limited Reevaluation Report (LRR), and completed 90 percent of the construction on the 17th Street closure structure.

FY 2014 Work:  Previous year carry in funds in the amount of $145,768 used to complete the construction of the 17th Street closure and start levee system certification evaluation report.

COMPLETION:  Complete levee system certification. The remaining levee modification design and construction work could be completed within 24 months, pending Congressional modification of the authorized project cost and available funding.

For more information regarding the Washington, DC & Vicinity Local Flood Protection Project, contact Rolando A. Sanidad, PMP, CENAB-PP-C, 410-962-2668, e-mail Rolando.Sanidad@usace.army.mil.

17th Street Levee FEMA flood National Park Service Washington D.C. Corps of Engineers