Kansas City District Works To Restore Missouri River Structures

The Kansas City Engineer District is taking multiple actions to repair and mitigate damage done to river structures on the Missouri River from high water over the last several years, including major flooding in 2019.

Crews have been repairing damaged structures all winter, the district said,  but work directly on the river has slowed recently due to dangerous floating ice. Even though river repairs have slowed, teams across the Kansas City District continue planning, engineering and diagnostic work in preparation for major repair work that will start this spring.

Physical buoys are pulled from the Missouri River at the end of the navigation season, usually in December, and are added again when the navigation season begins, according to river surveys and flow support levels, said Eric Kvistad, the aids to navigation officer at Sector Upper Mississippi River. 

“We have stood up a navigation restoration team that is working extremely hard and preparing for a quick start to repair work when the spring flow allows for free movement by our vessels on the river,” said Col. Bill Hannan, commander of the Kansas City Engineer District.

To date, the district said, survey crews have performed more than 185 riverbed studies and shared those with its industry partners. Survey crews are currently on standby due to weather conditions. Surveys of areas of concern have started and will take place on a monthly cycle.

Personnel and floating plant loaned from the Omaha and Rock Island districts, experts from U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and hired contractors have placed more than 300,000 tons of rock to perform post-flood repairs.

Newt Marine worked on multiple structures between Miles 80 and 100 over the first two weeks of February, but all crews were on standby during the extreme cold. A team from Ellis Construction remains at Glasgow, Mo., due to weather conditions. When conditions allow, Ellis plans to start work on structures between miles 240 and 260.

The Kansas City District team continues to regularly update industry partners on actions and progress via email. The operations project team holds a biweekly call with river pilots to cover important actions and surveys, and receive feedback.

The district’s River Engineering Section has completed a low water inspection of all river structures and is preparing a prioritized list of repairs and preliminary designs for repairs on known areas of concern.