The St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District partnered to host a press conference on December 18 to celebrate the recent news of $95.2M in the FY2019 workplan, which will bring the East St. Louis Flood Prevention project to its anticipated completion in 2022.
“This project is vitally important to East St. Louis and the entire Metro East region,” said Representative Mike Bost (IL-12). “Not only does this infrastructure project set the table for future economic development, it also provides protection from flooding to local residents and businesses. This levee project is truly a win-win.”
The Metro East Levee System, which is 73.7 miles in length, consists of five levee projects located in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties in Illinois. The levees were authorized and constructed to a height equal to 54 feet on the St. Louis gage, with completion of the original construction several decades ago.
Since that time more than $170M in Federal and local funds have been invested in aged levee infrastructure to reduce risk. The work that remains is correction of underseepage issues with the levee system. This is a critical issue that increases risk of failure.
Initial efforts to remedy the underseepage issues, called the 100-year level improvements, are complete with $74M of new construction invested to date, and the remaining underseepage correction projects are now underway.
This $95.2M Federal appropriation, when combined with the local efforts, will complete all remaining underseepage corrections in the East St Louis Levee.
The Metro East Levees protect 288,000 people/employees, 4,000 businesses, over 56,000 jobs, 111,000 acres, and $13.3B in assets. The funds will not only protect but provide opportunities for local people to work as local contractors.
“The St. Louis District is committed to working with our partners and stakeholders in rehabilitating the Metro East Levee System and improving the quality of life of those we serve,” Col. Bryan Sizemore, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District said.
The St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance, administered by the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, is the regional coalition that supports the residents and businesses in the American Bottoms whose lives and livelihoods depend on the timely completion of the Metro East levee improvements.