Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say repairs on one of the main levees breached by Missouri River floodwaters this year can begin as soon as the money is allocated. Corps spokeswoman Monique Farmer says all the preliminary work has been completed to rebuild the levee in the far southwestern Iowa town of Hamburg.
“The Corps of Engineers has pulled funds from other projects to go ahead and jumpstart construction efforts to begin the repair process,” Farmer says. “We are still waiting to find out how much money Congress is going to allocate so that we can continue that repair process.”
Many have criticized the Corps for not taking action sooner to prevent the monumental flooding that lasted all summer. Farmer says she’s heard the Corps being blasted for months on the issue. “There was nothing in our weather forecast that would have given us the indication back in the January-February timeframe or even the March-April timeframe that would have given us that red flag to say that we should increase releases,” she says.
When the levee broke this summer, floodwaters rolled over and covered thousands of acres of farmland and destroyed many miles of key roadways, including sections of Interstates 29 and 680. Repairs to just three miles of I-680 are estimated at $19-million.