Army Corp of Engineers: Levee needs raised

By Corene Brisendine

Dam the levee. It needs to be raised.

City commissioners plan to hear a presentation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on raising the levee at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

When the levee was constructed, it was supposed to hold up to 110,000 cubic feet per second of floodwater released from Tuttle Creek Dam.

City manager Ron Fehr said that during the 1993 flood, city engineers discovered that the levee would not hold, especially along the Big Blue River.

He said that the levee is only capable of holding 80,000 cubic feet per second of water.

The Corps wants the city to write a letter of endorsement to raise the levee to hold what was originally intended — 110,000 cubic feet per second of water.

However, Fehr said that the letter would not act as a contract actually binding the city to raise the levee.

He said that if Congress approves the Corps’ suggestion, the city would be responsible for 25 percent of the design costs and 35 percent of the construction costs.

Fehr also said that design could begin as early as 2015, with construction in 2017 – but the budget would not be affected until 2022.

“If Congress acts like it has over the past two years, we may not receive funding until 2032,” he said.

The city is not obligated to raise the levee without funding from Congress. Also, Fehr said that the city could cover its portion of the bill with “in kind” donations.

That could include surveys for the Corps or purchasing land to use as fill dirt.

On the consent agenda, more improvements for downtown are in the works.

The city put out bids for replacing the storm drains in the north and south alleys along Poyntz Avenue from the mall to Fifth Street.

The project also includes repaving the alleys and tying the buildings’ downspouts directly into the drains, which will reduce ice buildup.

The mayor also will read a proclamation for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration and Day of Service on Jan. 20.

Since this is the first meeting of the month, citizens may address the copmmission on any issues that are not already on the agenda.

The meeting will be televised on local cable channel 3.

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