Kansas City Levee Project Breaks Ground
The Kansas Citys Levees project held a groundbreaking ceremony October 13 at the Central Industrial District Levee Unit, marking the start of the levee raising phase of the $529 million project, which is set to raise more than 17 miles of existing levees and floodwalls up five feet. Both of Missouri’s senators, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, were present, along with many other civic leaders, including Quinton Lucas, mayor of Kansas City, Mo., and David Alvey, mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.
The KC Levee project consists of seven levee units including 60 miles of levees and floodwalls along both banks of the Missouri and Kansas rivers in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The system protects 32 square miles of industrial, commercial and residential areas, and includes 100,000 jobs, 7,000 structures and $22 billion in investments.
The purpose of this project is to ensure that these levee systems perform during the next flood event. The levee raising will improve the reliability and resiliency of the existing levee system and reduce flood risk by about 200 percent. This collaboration between the Corps of Engineers, the Kaw Valley Drainage District, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., and the city of Kansas City, Mo., will strengthen aging infrastructure. The improvements will consist of levee and floodwall raises, replacements and repairs to existing pump stations, improvements to aging infrastructure and seepage and stability improvements. The team’s goal is to complete the $529 million project by 2026.
This final phase will complete nearly 15 years of construction on the system. Improvements are already complete for the Fairfax/Jersey Creek, North Kansas City and East Bottoms Units along the Missouri River.
“As a military leader, this is one of my greatest joys, to be part of a team that includes community leaders working on behalf of our nation and our neighbors here in the heartland to deliver civil works projects,” said Col Travis Rayfield, Kansas City Engineer District commander. “Behind these levees we could say there are homes to tens of thousands of jobs, we could say there’s nearly $10 billion worth of infrastructure or at one count, over 30,000 homes. So, there’s a lot of metrics you can use to say this is an important piece of infrastructure.”