Upgrades have been made to the region’s aging levee system over the last few months and more are planned according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Above ground work along the Wood River Levee and Metro East Sanitary District locations including repairs to closure stations, pump stations and relief wells is almost completed and engineers are preparing for the next phase of the project, which will move the focus underground.
Mike Petersen, Chief of Public Affairs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District says cut-off walls designed to counter under-seepage of the Mississippi River along the Wood River levee could begin taking shape by December if an agreement between the Corps’, Wood River Drainage and Levee District and Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council is reached soon. Peterson also says that those driving along the Berm Highway will notice the work as it progresses.
WRDLD Superintendent Vince Milazzo and other levee district board members are optimistic that an agreement will be in place soon. However, Petersen points out the completion of the project will also rely on funding. The Corps’ has secured funding to cover their portion of the $20-million project and the other two bodies will cover their portion from a special sales tax. If all goes as planned, Petersen says the upgrades and recertification of the region’s levees could be completed within the next five years.