The St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District on Tuesday celebrated the announcement of $95.2 million in federal money being made available for flood prevention in East St. Louis.
With the funds, the levee work will be completed in 2022, after years of efforts.
“This project is vitally important to East St. Louis and the entire Metro East region,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, D-Murphysboro, who represents the 12th Congressional District. “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 gauge, with completion of the original construction several decades ago.
Since that time more than $170 million 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 $74 million of new construction invested to date, and the remaining underseepage correction projects are now underway.
This $95.2 million 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.
PHOTO: Political leaders and members representing the St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance, administered by the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, stand Tuesday after a press conference. The coalition has long worked to support the residents and businesses in the American Bottoms whose lives and livelihoods depend on the timely completion of the Metro East levee improvements.