Designs move forward for new flood wall in Caruthersville, Mo.

Designs move forward for new flood wall in Caruthersville, Mo.
Designs are being developed for a new flood wall in Caruthersville, Mo. that will replace the existing barrier that is 87 years old. (SOURCE: Nathan Ellgren KFVS 12)

CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) - Designs are being developed for a new flood wall in Caruthersville, Missouri that will replace the existing barrier that is 87-years-old.

A chief engineer working on the project estimates the cost to be more than $20 million, but says the flood wall will be fully paid for by the federal government.

“Not very many communities could afford an undertaking like this,” said Charles Davis with the St. Francis Levee District of Missouri.

Davis says the aging flood wall in Caruthersville protects thousands of people in low-lying communities across Missouri’s Bootheel and into Arkansas.

In 2011 the Mississippi River there crested at 47.7 feet and almost went over the existing flood wall, coming up short by just a few feet.

“Back in 2011 there was a lot of panic and fear in this community,” Davis said. “This old flood wall we could not raise it. It was only designed to hold back so much water, and if we would’ve raised it we could’ve had a complete failure.”

Davis is developing plans for a new flood wall and says it’s T-shaped design will be wider, a foot taller and can be temporarily raised during an emergency.

“This needed to be replaced," Davis said. "It will be comforting to know we have a new wall, a higher wall that will hold back more river.”

Davis says they will also be getting new flood gates and will keep six openings to the river.

The 3,000 feet of concrete will be rebuilt one section at a time.

“They’ll probably take out three to four sections at a time which is probably 100 to 150 feet," Davis said. "That way you don’t have a big opening.”

Davis worries another flood will hit during construction of the new wall but says they have a plan to protect the town.

“There have been two or three ideas but right now they’re going with driving sheet pilings,” he said.

Construction of the new flood wall is slated to start next summer, and Davis says it’s expected to be complete by the January 2022.

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