JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Repairs to the system of barriers that protects areas of north Jefferson City from the Missouri River have yet to be completed ahead of expected spring flooding.
The Capital View Drainage District suffered several major breaches during the historic flood conditions in 2019, the largest extending about 100 yards.
The district is made up of more than eight miles of sand-based structures that surround a 5-square-mile area of Callaway County, including the Jefferson City Memorial Airport.
The protected area includes mostly agricultural plots along with some residences, farm structures, commercial development and a population of about 600. The estimated property value is approximately $4.8 million, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' description.
"This levee overtopped in 2019 and the leveed area was inundated," the Corps said. "The levee performed as designed until water exceeded the design and overtopped the levee. The local levee sponsor and USACE are working together on repairing damages."
The Corps is shepherding the repair project of the district's four breach sites, having advertised the work to prospective contractors in early February. According to the latest update on Feb. 20, the contract for the repair project has not been awarded.
In its most recent Spring Flood Outlook report on Feb. 13, The National Weather Service predicts significant flooding is likely along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
A representative for the Corps told ABC 17 News on Wednesday that the contract is expected to be awarded within the next two weeks.
Dru Buntin, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, said the cost of repairing non-federal levee systems such as the Capital View Drainage District is shared with the federal and state governments.
The Army Corps will cover 80 percent of the total repair cost. Various Missouri agencies including the DNR and the State Emergency Management Agency will cover 15 percent. The district will pick up the tab for the remaining five percent.
Many north Jefferson City business owners and residents said simply repairing the levee structures to the original protection level of 30.5 feet is not enough.
"We may have to invest a little bit now but it's going to save us millions in the future," said Danny Baumgartner, owner of Turkey Creek Golf Center. "Why do we want to keep spending millions of dollars on repairs that are coming more frequently instead of just taking care of the problem now?"
Britt Smith, an official with the levee district, said the conversation to make further improvements to strengthen the levees will take place once the repairs are complete.
In February, the Show-Me State joined three other states along the Missouri River to fund a study that could help with flood mitigation in the future.