The Corps of Engineers is committed to rebuilding the Birds Point Levee this summer.
The Birds Point Levee keeps the Mississippi River within her banks during high waters … but the Corps of Engineers blew out three sections last year to save the town of Cairo, Illinois. Now the rebuilding begins. The Corps has awarded contracts for each of the three crevasses in the levee, all blown out by the Corps.
Senior Project Manager Dennis Abernathy the Memphis District says flood stage is at 40 feet. The Corps will rebuild the blasted portions to 55 feet, and eventually 62.5, which allows for a platform if the Corps needs to blast in the future.
Abernathy says the conditions are right for rebuilding now with low water and little chance for flooding expected.
To rebuild all three crevasses blown out by the Corps is expected to cost nearly $20 million.
The levee will be rebuilt to its original height and width using its original materials — clay and earth.
The Corps blasted the levee last May so the Mississippi River didn’t over-top the levee and devastate Cairo, Illinois. It did, instead, devastate thousands of acres of Missouri farmland.
The awarded a Multiple Award Task Order Contract for repairs to the Birds Point-New Madrid frontline levee to three firms: Young’s General Contracting, of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; Kingridge Enterprises, Inc., of Little Rock, Ark.; and Harold Coffey Construction Co., of Hickman, Ky. The total contract amount is not to exceed $20 million.
Work to restore the Birds Point-New Madrid frontline levee is one part of the comprehensive repairs taking place in the confluence area where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers converge. Work is also in progress or planned for locations in and around Cairo, Ill., and in Fulton County, Ky.
AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:09)