Army Corps of Engineers Says Levee Repairs From 2019 Floods Almost Complete

March 24, 2021, 2:15 p.m. ·

Levee repairs along the Missouri River near Omaha. (Photo courtesty of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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It’s been two years since many parts of eastern Nebraska along the Missouri River were flooded when levees failed, sending water onto farmlands and destroying homes and other infrastructure. Now, the U-S Army Corps of Engineers says nearly all the levee repairs are complete as the region prepares for what could be a wet spring.

The historic floods in March of 2019 wiped-out several dozen levees along the Missouri and in tributaries in eastern Nebraska. The job of repairing the damage started almost immediately, and much of it is now complete. The Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District awarded a total of 44 repair contracts totaling $470 million. Now, 35 are complete, including repairs to 14 critical inlet breaches. 11.5 million cubic yards of soil was moved in the process.

Breached levee near Peru, Nebraska. (Photo by Christina Stella, NET News)

“To help put that in perspective, it’s the equivalent of filling AT&T Stadium in Texas three times over,” said Dustin Davis with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Omaha District. “So, a substantial amount of material has been moved, sand and cohesive used to rebuild the levee system.”

Contractors started by repairing inlet breaches upstream and worked their way down to take on less critical outlet breaches. The repairs stretched around 70 miles from Omaha to Rock Port, Missouri. With run-off season here, there’s still some work to be done.

“The breaches themselves have been closed but there’s still under-seepage risk that we’re trying to mitigate with seepage berms and relief wells, so we’re still trying to get that completed this year,” Davis said. “But not having open holes in the levee system absolutely is a benefit to run-off season.”

Landowners were involved in the process as well and were paid to repair levee damage on their property. Davis said the Army Corps hopes to have all the repairs done by the end of the year.