The Corps of Engineers says it’s ahead of schedule in fixing levees and other Missouri River structures damaged by the record 145 days of flooding last year.
District commander Tony Hoffman expects levee repairs will cost about $40 million. He says local sponsors are doing a good job in rounding up their share of the levee repair costs. The district has 157 levees from the northern boundary of the state to the river’s junction with the Mississippi, not all of which were damaged by the floods. About 48 projects are left to do and about half of the contracts for them have been awarded. He thinks most of the projects should be fond by November first.
The hot, dry summer has been good for levee and bank stabilization work and upstream reservoirs have kept navigation going. Col. Hoffman recalls many voices in January and February calling for early releases from upstream reservoirs to avoid possible spring floods. But he says hindsight shows it would have been a “huge mistake.” He says the Missouri River is “sitting pretty good” compared to other river systems including the Mississippi, which is 15 feet low at Memphis, a situation harmful to lower Mississippi River navigation.
But the Missouri remains in good shape although Hoffman says navigation could be challenged if the drought continues.