The plan to get to work on upgrading levees from Alton to the Columbia Bottoms is apparently still at the mercy of the approval process of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and that is the focus of legislation introduced by a pair of local congressmen. A bipartisan effort between Republican John Shimkus and Democrat Jerry Costello aims to streamline the Corps' section 408 approval process, which has apparently caused numerous delays in fixing the levee system.
Costello says they hope by inserting this bill into the Water Resources Development Act, it will get done quicker.
The project has been advertised with a price tag ranging from $151 to just over $160-million. If the levees are decertified by FEMA, the cost of new insurance premiums across the region could reach an estimated $50-million.