(Pike County, Ill.) Less than 48 hours ago, a section of the Sny Island Levee was still knocked down to its core as construction of the Rockies Express Pipeline moved forward. Today as waters continue to rise, crews were scrambling to increase the levee's protection. KHQA's Jarod Wells was at the Sny today to see just how much more protection is needed.
18 inches of water had come into the REX construction site in Pike County, Illinois from the Mississippi River Monday night shortly after a section of the levee had been reconstructed. That section was pushed back up after seeing the expected crest levels. But, even more water came in Tuesday night, 2.7 feet to be exact, which prompted increased protection from the levee.
"We're getting that up to an elevation of about 26 feet on the Louisiana, Missouri gauge," said Sny Island Superintendent Mike Reed. "That should give us plenty of freeboard over the expected crest."
Plastic also will be placed over the sand on the river side of the levee in order to protect from possible seepage. Superintendent Mike Reed says seepage is a normal part of a sand levee, but it is important to try and prevent it.
"What we do in a flood fight is when we do our push up of our levee," said Reed, "then we lay plastic on the river side slopes of that levee and anchor that plastic down with sandbags to prevent as much as possible that through seapage coming through that sand."
That plastic will remain on the sand until the waters fall back between 17.5 and 18 ft. The predicted crest level was at 23.8 Wednesday morning, but dropped to 23 around noon. Reed says if those are accurate, the levee will provide plenty of protection.
"We're in good shape, this is purely a precautionary system that we're dealing with," said Reed. "If for instance the river stages don't climb as high, that's all the better for us, but in the mean time we're going to plan for it so that we're ready in case it happens."
KHQA's Jarod Wells also asked Sny Island Superintendent Mike Reed if he had any concerns about the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge. As you recall last summer, there was a disagreement between the levee district and the railroad about the position of the lift span. But Reed says unless the river gets to 30 feet, there is no problem with flood water passing under the bridge.