Omaha, Neb. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District completed an initial breach closure on levee L550 south of Watson, Missouri, Thursday.
This closure of breach L-550-B-I near river mile 538 stops the inflows of water, thereby allowing for the start of follow-on construction activities aimed at increasing the level of flood risk management to approximately the 4% Annual Chance Exceedance (25-yr) level for this section of the L-550 Levee System until the system can be fully rehabilitated.
“Closing the L-550_B inlet breach has been an important milestone for USACE since our team arrived on site in late June. The government and contractor team worked collaboratively to identify and mitigate risks to the breach closure by proactively constructing a rock revetment and sand berms along the river bank in order to ensure increased flows and water velocity was not an impairment to construction as the team closed the L-550_B breach,” said Brendan Kight, USACE Area Engineer. “It was great to see that the team's hard work directly contribute to a successful inlet breach closure on Thursday. We still have more work to do on-site, but the closure of this breach along with the northern L-550_A breach back on August 24th is a great milestone in the rehabilitation of the L-550 levee system.”
The original contract of $22.1 million was awarded to Weston Solutions, Inc. of West Chester, PA June 11, 2019, and construction began July 8.
“The USACE team has partnered very well with Weston Solutions and their key subcontractor, Hendrickson, to place 750,000 cubic yards of alluvial sand in the initial breach closure”, said Davis. “The contractor team has done a phenomenal job of resourcing local equipment and operators—in a difficult market, as 70% of the operators are local farmers and land owners. These operators are working their tails off to rebuild the levees that are protecting their livelihoods, which is pretty cool to be a part of. The level of camaraderie, coordination and hard work on this project is beyond anything I have experienced in my time with USACE."
There are more than 500 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers, and tributaries that have experienced significant flood damage since March 2019. Due to the magnitude of damage along these levees, repair of the levee system efforts will take an extended period of time to execute. Levees must be active in the Public Law 84-99 program to be eligible for federal funding for repairs.
Omaha District’s focus remains on ensuring the safety of citizens and communicating the conditions on the river systems to all of our partners and stakeholders. The Corps continues to provide flood fight assistance to state, local and tribal government agencies.
For regular updates on the repair efforts to flood control structures in the Missouri River Basin, visit the Omaha District’s System Restoration web page at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Omaha-District-System-Restoration-Team/.