Birds Point levee rebuild to be completed by December - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Birds Point levee rebuild to be completed by December

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

A spokesperson for the US Army Corps of Engineers says the Birds Point levee repairs should be complete by December.

Crews are working to get that levee back up to 62 and a half feet to protect the area from potential flooding.

The corps announced in May that it had awarded $20 million in contracts to repair the levee that was intentionally breached at the height of spring flooding in 2011, in part to help save the flood wall protecting nearby Cairo, Ill. The breach allowed 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland to flood. Several dozen homes were also damaged.

Corps officials initially hedged on when the repair would be completed. But corps spokesman Jim Pogue said Tuesday that weather has been favorable for repairs. Protests to the bid awards were cleared, and the low level of the Mississippi River is also allowing the work to proceed more quickly.

U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson released this statement:

"Repair of the levee to 62.5 feet is the only solution to protect this part of Missouri from devastating floods. I appreciate the fact that this project has the support of the Mississippi River Commission and the Corps and a stated goal to finish the work by the end of the year. Families that live and work in and near the Floodway cannot bear another spring season with the uncertainty of inadequate flood protection. This is a vital project to Southeast Missouri, our communities and our economy. I continue to hold the Corps of Engineers accountable to an aggressive timeline for completion of the project, and I will be monitoring their progress every step of the way."

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt released this statement: 

"The Corps' announcement today is great news for Southeast Missourians, and I am so pleased they finally heeded my calls to fully restore the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway this year. Families, farmers, and small businesses in the Bootheel can finally return to their daily lives and rebuild what was lost," said Blunt.

"I thank my colleague, Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, for her leadership on this important endeavor," Blunt continued. "The Army Corps made a decision to destroy this levee last year, and we have long said that it is their responsibility to fully restore it as soon as possible."

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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