New levees for southwest Illinois
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — The group overseeing upgrades to Mississippi River levees in southwestern Illinois says it will begin talks with a British firm that expects the makeovers to take roughly two and a half years.
The Southwestern Illinois Flood Protection District Council on Wednesday chose London-based AMEC Earth and Environmental to oversee the levees’ design, repair and certification.
The work is expected to cost $130 million, covered by a special sales tax in three affected counties and bonds.
The council looks to make the barriers capable of handling FEMA’s threshold of a flood so big it has only a 1 percent chance of happening any given year.
New floodplain maps expected to come out Jan. 1 could show the levees as functionally useless, meaning higher insurance rates for thousands of homes and businesses behind them.