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Army Corps Enlarges Levee in Mississippi

Mon January 10, 2011 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently directing a project to enlarge a levee in Issaquena County, Mississippi.

The contract was awarded to Kenneth R. Thompson Builders Inc., Greenwood, Miss., with funding coming from the corps’ Mississippi River and Tributaries Project.

The full contract amount is approximately $10 million.

The project began in November 2009, and is expected to take a total of 36 months to complete.

The project involves 4.7 mi. (7.5 km) of levee between Goose Lake Road and Fitler. The levee will be raised 5 ft. (1.5 m)

The job is currently running on schedule. One of the challenges faced is that Mississippi Highway 465 runs atop the levee, and local traffic must be maintained during construction. In addition, crews face normal construction challenges of moving the levee making material (dirt) and packing it correctly with the proper moisture content when packing.

Kavanaugh Breazeale of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers explained that there are basically two types of construction overviews, which include river side enhancement and land side enhancement.

“This particular levee enhancement in Issaquena County Mississippi is a riverside enhancement and subject to normal flooding from the Mississippi River during flood season,” he said.

Earthwork for the project involves approximately 1.2 million cu. yds. (917,466 cu m) of semi-compacted and compacted embankment material. The earthwork subcontractor is Malouf Construction, also of Greenwood.

Major equipment includes a Case 240 MX tractor, a John Deere 544J front end loader, several Cat 740 off- road trucks, a Case 580L backhoe, an International boom truck, a Cat D6R dozer, a John Deere 550H dozer, a Cat 320 trackhoe, a John Deere 850J dozer, a Cat 12H motorgrader, a Case MX270 tractor, a Case 345C excavator and a Cat 815 roller.

According to Breazeale, the Vicksburg District is responsible for approximately 460 mi. (740 km) of levee enhancement, which is approximately 75 percent complete.

The overall project has an estimated completion date of 2031.

“The project design flow amounts [levee enhancements] raised to a new level in 1974 and are designated for the Main Line [Mississippi River] levees,” Breazeale said. “As you know, the Mississippi River is the third largest drainage basin in the world. Forty-one percent of all drainage of the continental United States drains through what is known as the Mississippi River Valley. This area contains parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces covering more than 1.25 million square miles.”

These enhancements fall under the Mississippi River and Tributaries Act (MRT) that started in 1928 with an enhancement area starting roughly in St. Louis and going down to the Gulf of Mexico, Breazeale said.

According to a brochure published by the Mississippi Levee Board, the Mississippi Constitution charges them “with responsibility to provide protection of lives and property to the citizens of the Delta from floods from the Mississippi River.”

The Flood Control Act of 1928 authorized the Mississippi River & Tributaries Project (MR&T), which included a uniform levee system. The Levee Enlargement Project includes 69 mi. (111 km) of deficient levee beginning just below Greenville and extending toward Vicksburg. CEG

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