EAST ST. LOUIS, Il. (KMOX)-While some metro east officials question their willingness to help, local Corps of Engineers officials say they are doing what they can to allow work to upgrade the region’s levees to begin as soon as possible.
The Corps says the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District must obtain several permits before it can begin its $161 million upgrade, and it’s promising to expedite that permitting process.
But district executive Les Sterman recently told KMOX, that he’s skeptical, “I don’t think we’re satisfied yet that that permitting process will be as streamlined as it needs to be to get this project done.”
Local Corps Commander, Colonel Tom O’Hara tells KMOX he understands the frustration, but says the Corps is doing what it can, “Because we have a shared vision of where we want to go with this. We want to do this as quickly as we possibly can to minimize the risk to the public.
Last Friday the metro east congressional delegation requested a meeting with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, to discuss the plan.
The levees must be improved to avert FEMA mandated increased flood insurance requirements and premiums.
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