GRAND TOWER, IL (KFVS) - High river levels and weather have delayed repairs to a levee protecting several small communities in southern Illinois.
The nearly 70-year-old levee spans from Randolph to Union County.
Aging metal drains under the levee have started to erode and are beginning to damage the integrity of the wall.
Last year, construction began to reinforce the aging pipes with liners in the levee's 21 gravity fed drains, according to the project engineer Kevin Grammar.
The drains force water out of the flood plains near communities of Grand Tower, Fountain Bluff and Degognia – whose levee districts have partnered on this project.
The project also includes replacing a drain that collapsed in June of 2013 that allows the flow of water out of rural Grand Tower, Ill.
Grand Tower Mayor Michael Ellett worries that flood season is approaching and repairs to the levee aren't complete.
Grammar said work was consistent through November 2015, but the rising Big Muddy River made it unsafe to work.
"It's dangerous if not impossible," Grammar said.
He said water flowing under the levee could damage the levee and the entire project.
The project is coming at a cost of $1.1 million and is being paid for through Jackson County bonds.