Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Army Corps of Engineers diverts funds for Mississippi River system repairs

Unless more funding comes their way, the Army Corps of Engineers will have to divert resources away from some projects in order to rebuild the Mississippi River flood control system.

The Corps is currently in the process of prioritizing its projects following this year’s devastating floods.

One of the Corps’ priorities is maintaining the river channel at Kentucky Bend … that western-most parcel of Kentucky that is separated from the rest of the state by the Mississippi River.

Corps spokesperson Bob Anderson says that the river tried to change course there by ripping out a large chunk of the river bank that includes concrete revetment.

"If the river were to change course at that location you would have many millions of dollars worth of navigation improvements that would be lost because the river had changed course," Anderson said. "That would be pretty costly to the American taxpayer and the folks who need a reliable navigation channel."

Other high priority projects include the reconstruction of the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway and multiple repairs at Cairo, Illinois.

The Corps estimates that repairs will cost between one and one-and-half billion dollars.

At this point, 52 million dollars have been transferred from surplus budgets of other projects … but Anderson notes that additional transfers are likely.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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