Grand Tower mayor concerned about flooding after levee break - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Grand Tower mayor concerned about flooding after levee break

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A break in a levee near Grand Tower, Illinois forced waters through the levee and onto the other side toward town.

Mayor Mike Ellet says the break is a concern because if river levels rise, it could flood the town.

“If it keeps on like it is, the river starts back up, this levee has failed," Ellet said. "It won’t hold. It’s gone. It’ll probably be 12 hours at the most if she washed back out. We sit here and do nothing. Who is to say it won’t still? The water is still up high enough that it could still wash through here.”

Dennis Wright has lived in Grand Tower for more than 50 years and says the town depends on the levees.

“We are lucky this time that we river is dropping out," Wright said. "But see, we lay in a basin between the Muddy River and the Mississippi River with a levee on each side and we depend on each levee to hold it out of our little basin here and, yeah, if it failed, we could get water up in the town.”

Ellet says the Corps of Engineers estimate the cost of replacing the lock would be $1 million.

“We don’t have a million dollars," Ellet said. "We’ll do what we have always done. We will shove it full of rock, beg, borrow, and steal whatever we can to maintain it and hopefully the state, the higher-up people, will see what’s going on here and, they’ve been good in the past about helping us out. So, basically, that’s all we can pray for.”

The lock that broke is one of 18 near Grand Tower of its kind. Ellet says the locks were built to last 50 years, but the current locks have been in use for nearly 70 years.

Ellet says if the water rises before the break is replaced, the town, Route 3, and the railroad could be damaged by flooding.

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