Construction breaks ground on US$529 million levee project in Kansas

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Officials in Kansas City celebrated the groundbreaking of the final portion of the $529 million levee project in Kansas, which aims to improve 17 miles of levees along the Kansas and Missouri rivers. Area officials applauded the project, describing it as a significant investment that would provide even larger benefits by defending the neighborhood and paving the way for more economic growth. They also cited previous devastating floods in the region, including the Great Flood of 1993 and the Great Flood of 1951, as evidence of the necessity for that protection.

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The project aimed at raising of the levee is expected to lower the danger of flooding along the Kansas River by roughly 200 percent, according to Lt. Col. Travis Rayfield of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of the project’s civil engineering. Over the course of the project, more than 200 utility connections will be relocated or modified, and more than 1.3 million cubic yards of soil will be moved, the equivalent of filling the Hyvee Arena five times over, all while keeping the project synchronized with the country’s second-largest railroad hub. The Missouri River levee system began construction in 2019, and the project is anticipated to be completed by 2026. Future improvements of the levee system will be centered in Kansas City’s Central Industrial District, which includes the West Bottoms, and will run along the Kansas River through the Armourdale and Argentine neighborhoods.

The project will raise the levees along the rivers by up to 4 feet. Relief wells will be installed and drainage infrastructure will be updated. In addition, some pump stations will be eliminated, while others will be built or renovated. “That might have been something that completely destroyed the spirit of the town.” However, this was not the case. In fact, they banded together to say, “We want to rebuild, we want to reestablish, we want to develop,” Kansas Mayor David Alvey stated.