New stage in flood recovery: shoring up the shore lines
CAIRO, Ill. — More than a year after Flood 2011, work is under way to shore up miles of shore lines along the rivers.
The high water put incredible pressure on the area, leading to numerous problems like sand boils then and unstable soil now.
Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it is starting a number of projects to repair the damage. Congress is footing the bill.
Nearly $20 million will go toward four projects in Cairo, Illinois, while $6.5 million will repair the river's edge in Hickman, Kentucky.
Much of the money will go toward fixing the Birds Point Levee. The corps has $45 million earmarked to build it back.
"We're going to get after these construction projects and make this system just that much stronger," said Col. Vernie Reichling, Army Corps of Engineers Commander.
Reichling said the ones on the list are there for a reason.
"We identify these projects as potential loss of life, so it's high risk," said Reichling.
The focus at least in Cairo, is laying concrete mats which maintain the river's channel and keep the shore from washing away.
"If this wall was to potentially cave in, then we would have loss of life in Cairo," said Reichling.
Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman said keeping people safe is the top priority.
"It all comes back to saving lives and property," he said.
Though water didn't destroy Cairo, it came close. Coleman said he's glad the corps is reinforcing the ground.
"If that was to give way, the next thing would be the walls and then the next thing we would have lives overtaken," said Coleman.
The drought is having an effect on the work, too. Low water levels mean crews could have some difficulty as they continue.
"It could potentially impact as we go further down the river with trying to get close into the bank," said Reichling.
Reichling doesn't anticipate that it will keep crews from working.
The Army Corps of Engineers hopes to have all flood recovery projects complete by the end of 2013.