Nervous in Clarksville — Sand Berm Protecting Historic Town “Leaking”

Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS-(KMOX)–Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley, emerging from a meeting with the National Guard, is predicting the leaks eroding a hastily-built sand wall protecting her town can be patched to hold back the Mississippi.

“There has been some seepage and there has been some sloughing of the wall in two places,” Smiley said, “What that means is the wall is not as wide, and consequently you get nervous.”

Built Friday with the help of Missouri National Guard troops, local volunteers and prisoners — the chest-high wall is constructed of sand and gravel with a flat top and slanted sides, covered with a heavy plastic tarp secured by rows of sand  bags at the base.

It protects dozens of 19th century brick buildings, a post office, a lumber company and five historic homes along the water front.

Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley managing flood fight

Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley managing flood fight

Smiley says today the National Guard is planning to add steel reinforcing walls, some metal rebar and lots of sand to shore up the weak spots.

“I feel that we have confident people and competent people,” Smiley said, “They were sitting there with smiles on their face and they left with a plan of action.”

Her worst fear — more rain — is in the forecast.

“I got a call from Chicago just minutes ago saying there could be a rise in the river,” she said.

Earlier, Clarksville was calling for volunteers, but now Smiley says they have ample personnel to get the job done.

Copyright KMOX

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