Drought is good for Army Corps of Engineers construction crews - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Drought is good for Army Corps of Engineers construction crews

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Low water levels are giving the Corps of Engineers a better look at the damage done by last year's flooding. Low water levels are giving the Corps of Engineers a better look at the damage done by last year's flooding.
CAIRO, IL (KFVS) -

The drought hasn't been good for much, but it has been great for the Army Corps of Engineers' construction crews working on flood repairs.

Low water levels are giving the Corps of Engineers a better look at the damage done by last year's flooding.

"We have to make sure our infrastructure is intact," said Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman.

The dry weather has offered an opportunity to make necessary repairs - like a $26 million project to rebuild the bank of the Ohio River to keep Cairo safe from future flood events.

"If this wall were to cave in, we could have a loss of life in the city of Cairo," said Reichling.

The Corps has more than $100 million set aside for repairs to Heartland levee systems. Nearly half of that is going to rebuild the Birds Point New Madrid floodway.

The Corps also plans to rebuild a portion of the Fayville levee in western Alexander County. When the levee breeched last year it swamped the town of Olive Branch.

"The local farmers and drainage district put up a temporary levee to cover this spring," said Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny. "But knowing we're going to have something permanent in place before next spring is a big relief."

While the drought has caused many problems in the Heartland, it's made for a great construction season and the corps says it doesn't plan to waste any time.

"It's great construction weather because most of this work is dirt work and it doesn't work well when it's wet." said Reichling. "Mother Nature gave us a reprieve and we're going to full take full advantage of it. We're going to get these construction projects going and make the system that much stronger."

Reichling says the goal is to complete all repairs on the levee system by the end of 2013.

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