LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District awarded about 730 contracts worth more than $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2019.
Los Angeles District Commander Col. Aaron Barta highlighted the year’s accomplishments during an end-of-year town hall and awards ceremony Oct. 3 in the District Headquarters.
“Our team serves over 33 million people throughout Southern California, Nevada and Arizona,” Barta said. “The sheer volume of work awarded and completed over this past year is incredible. You should be proud of what you have accomplished for the nation.”
Barta announced the largest portion of contracts awarded came from $2.5 billion in new border barrier construction along the U.S. and Mexico border.
“As America’s engineers we were tasked with taking on a large amount of new border work in a short period of time,” he said. “We are under the microscope and as good stewards of tax payers dollars, we have to accomplish the mission fast, and we have to do it right.”
Another major accomplishment for the district team was the completion and submission of the Whittier Narrows Dam Safety Modification Study.
The Corps study recommends important modifications to the dam to ensure it continues to reduce flood risk for more than 1.2 million people.
“It took a lot of time and effort by an incredible team to get the study submitted to our headquarters by the hard deadline,” Barta said. “If the study was not submitted by the fiscal year 2019 deadline, then it would have delayed work by another year.”
Recommended modifications to the dam have officially moved to the design phase, with construction estimated to cost $400 million.
Barta went on to acknowledge the hard work employees accomplished throughout the district to include:
- Provided financial guidance and support to more than 600 Military and International &Interagency Support projects;
- Issued $32.5 million in navigation contracts supporting dredging for eight ports along the Southern California coast;
- Completed drafts of the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Navigation Study and Port of Long Beach Deep Draft Navigation Study;
- Additional operations and maintenance supplemental funding for the Los Angeles County Flood Control Drainage System;
- Moved to the design phase for the Prado Dam spillway; and,
- Expanded work with partner agencies to include NASA, the EPA, National Parks Service and the USDA Forest Service.
He also recognized ongoing construction, worth more than $122 million, for three Southern California Veterans Affairs hospitals, including facilities in Los Angeles, San Diego and Long Beach.
Barta updated the work force on the design work for the VA Spinal Cord Injury Center at the VA San Diego, California, campus. The state-of-the-art research center will not only benefit veterans, but anyone suffering from spinal cord injuries.
“Everything we do is about people,” Barta said. “Our customers like the VA come to us to build these projects in order to better serve people. Keep in mind our reputation is on the line, so we have to deliver quality projects on time.”
Employees were recognized for these achievements during the end-of-year award ceremony. Additionally, the district hired 90 new employees during fiscal year 2019.
“Our motivated and highly educated work force are the foundation of what makes our organization so great,” Barta said during closing remarks. “Thank you for everything you have done this past year and will continue to do this next year.”