By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
After 15 years on the drawing board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin upgrading and extending Anderson’s flood control levee in the next few days.
Built by the city in the mid-1930s to help minimize the damaging effect of floods along the White River, the height of the existing 3,200-foot-long levee will be raised and widened, said Amy Babey, chief of plan formulation at the Corps’ Louisville District.
The existing levee is currently 15-18 feet above the river and 6-8 feet above land. The height will be increased by 3 feet.
That structure will also be extended 1,500 feet. The new levee will be 21 feet higher than the river, 16 feet higher than the adjacent land, and 6-7 feet higher than the “high ground” on the land side of the new levee, Babey said.
With the addition of 417 feet of flood walls and levee embankments around three existing bridges over White River — at Third and Eighth streets, and the downtown pedestrian river crossing — the total length of the flood control project will be more than 5,100 feet in length.
In addition, the project will include a flood warning system consisting of stream gauges and a computer and radio alert system to warn residents in advance of any possible flooding.
“We’re very excited about this partnership with the city of Anderson,” Babey said. “We’re going to increase protection for areas that were already protected, and provide protection to areas that didn’t have it before.”
The project will cost a total of $3.2 million. Anderson’s share of the expense will be about $1.12 million, said Deputy Mayor Pete Heuer.
In preparation for the levee work, the city in 2010 completed an extensive sewer system project at Athletic Park, he added.
In the past, the estimated annual flood damage in the city has exceeded $400,000, impacting more than 130 residents and business structures. With the new levee construction, annual flood damage will be reduced by 90 percent, he said.
Heuer said the new section of levee and added height is designed to handle a 100-year flood event.
The work should be completed in late 2014 by T&T Construction Enterprises LLC, of Leitchfield, Ky. Federal funding for the project comes from something called the Continuing Authorities Program, which is intended to fill the need of relatively small projects like Anderson.
“The White River project in Anderson is an excellent example of what the Continuing Authorities Program can do for a local community,” said the Corps’ Louisville District Commander Luke Leonard.
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