An aerial view of the Mississippi River in flood.
ST. LOUIS (AP) The Army Corps of Engineers said May 31 it has awarded $20 million worth of contracts to three firms to repair the Birds Point levee, which was intentionally breached last year in southeast Missouri to alleviate flooding on the Mississippi River.
“This is the first significant step in restoring the confluence area and the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway from the damages incurred from the historical flood of 2011,” Col. Vernie Reichling, the corps’ Memphis District commander, said. Reichling said other contracts will be awarded this year to repair flood damage near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in Kentucky and Illinois.
The repair work announced May 31 was awarded to Young’s General Contracting, of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; Kingridge Enterprises Inc., of Little Rock, Ark.; and Harold Coffey Construction Co., of Hickman, Ky. Work also is in progress or planned for levees in and around Cairo, Ill., and in Fulton County, Ky. The corps used explosives to blow the Birds Point levee last spring in part to keep neighboring Cairo from flooding. The tactic lowered the water level on the Mississippi River but inundated 130,000 acres of farmland. Several dozen homes also were flooded.
The corps said the work will restore the levee to its original condition prior to being blasted.