CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Caruthersville is looking to get construction started on a new floodwall in the year 2020.
The St. Francis Levee District of Missouri Chief Engineer Charles Davis said they are still in the planning stages with a new levee floodwall to be constructed for the City of Caruthersville.
Davis stated the new wall was first announced by a Army Corps of Engineer representative on a low water inspection trip of the Mississippi River back in August of 2018.
“The Caruthersville Floodwall Replacement Project is in the design phase,” Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Specialist Kenneth Williams said in a statement.
“Funding for the project is coming from the Long Term Disaster Recovery Investment Program included in the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123). The floodwall will be replaced with an undetermined portion of the $147,000,000 dedicated to Mississippi River levee repairs under the Mississippi River and Tributaries Account.”
Davis said the Army Corps of Engineers have approved more than 20 million dollars for the Caruthersville project.
The current floodwall is now 87-years-old. Davis said it’s time for a new one as the old one has been causing some concerns, especially in high flooding events.
"This wall, back in 2011, we monitored this wall constantly," Davis recalled. "It had a lot of seepage. We are having a lot of horizontal cracking, the expansion joints. This wall is old. This wall was constructed in 1932."
Davis said that record-breaking flooding event in 2011 had a lot of cause for concern for many in the city. He said this new wall will allow people to breathe a little easier.
"It would be more peace of mind," Davis said. "In 2011, there was a lot of people that packed up and left town because there was a threat of the river coming over the wall."
Davis said the current wall will hold water up to the 50 foot mark on the Caruthersville gauge. The new one will be able to hold 51 feet and will have the ability to be built higher in emergency situations.
"The new wall will be a foot taller," Davis explained. "But, the new wall will be constructed to where if we have to add to it to raise it, we can. This one (current wall), we cannot."
Davis said they can add mud boxes and sandbags on top of it if they need to in a future high water flooding event.
Davis said with the current wall, adding additional height to the wall could affect the stability of the entire structure.
“This wall was only designed to hold back so much water,” Davis explained about the current flood wall. “If you raised it anymore, it could cause a complete failure.”
The contract is slated to be awarded in June of 2020. Davis said construction on the wall will begin a couple months afterwards.
The wall will be roughly 3,000 feet in length and will be constructed where the existing wall is located.
Davis said completion date of this new flood wall could be as early as January of 2022.