U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluates Black River levee

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JACKSON COUNTY, AR (KAIT)- Monday, city and county officials in Jackson County called for a mandatory evacuation of the Jacksonport area. The Black River was expected to crest at 36-feet, but a new report says it will be a lot less. Tuesday, crews with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked diligently to assess the levee, and make sure it would be able to withstand the predicted crest.

"These levees are definitely doing exactly what they are designed to do," said Gary Ivy, who works with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers. Ivy has spent the last several days monitoring the Black River levee.

"We're going to be up here watching over them and if something occurs we're going to do our best to fix whatever needs to be fixed," said Ivy.

Tuesday, the corps worked to measure the elevation of the sandbags surrounding the levee trying to stay one step ahead of the flood waters. "We spent 17 hours out here Saturday. We laid out about 30 to 35-thousand sandbags. With the latest prediction of the river cresting at 35 feet, we wanted to makes sure these sandbags are built up high enough to withstand that latest reading," said Ivy.

But he says it's been the community's help, that's made all the difference. "We've had members of the community hauling sand in. People volunteering, filling these bags. And as quickly as we've had people filling them, people are bringing them to us with equipment dumping them on the levee. It's taken a lot of volunteers and a lot of man hours, and it's just been a great thing working with this community," said Ivy.

But to ensure the public's safety and condition of the levee, Ivy is asking citizens to limit the traffic through the area. "The more traffic and four-wheelers, people driving up here and turning around it's rutting up the levee and everything. So we want to ask people to stay off the levees," said Ivy.

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