USA: Work on West Sacramento Levee Paused for Rainy Season
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has concluded this year’s construction of a setback levee along South River Road in West Sacramento with plans to resume next spring.
The construction site will be shut down for the winter and South River Road from Marina Green Drive to Linden Road will continue to be limited to police, fire and levee patrols until the project is complete in fall 2013. Road closure signs will be updated this week to reflect the new completion date, and no-trespassing signs and detours for residents are clearly marked. The existing levee remains intact, so there is no additional increase in flood risk due to the construction delay of the new levee.
The project is a joint effort between the Corps and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board to strengthen levees along the Sacramento River and its tributaries, a part of the Corps’ Sacramento River Bank Protection Project. When finished, the new levee will be set back 250 feet from the old levee and will be 15 feet high, 2,200 feet long, and have up to a 75-foot-deep seepage cutoff wall in its center. Cutoff walls strengthen levees and help prevent water from leaking through or under them.
The project design is intended to widen the river channel to hold more water during a flood or storm, while preserving the wildlife habitat between the old levee and the river. When the project is completed, South River Road will run atop the new setback levee and reconnect to the existing levee at each end.
This is the second time the project will be carried over through the rainy season. In 2011, wet weather conditions and high water levels delayed levee construction until September, which was too far into the construction season to be finished before winter flood and environmental preservation deadlines. This year, the Corps and the contractor are still determining the acceptability of the seepage cutoff wall inside the new levee’s center, and won’t be able to complete the evaluation and remaining work before this year’s rainy season begins. Work should resume when the 2013 construction season begins in June.
“We understand residents were not expecting construction to continue but public safety is our principal concern,” said project manager Tom Karvonen. “The old levee is still in place and will remain until the construction of the new levee is deemed complete and accepted by the Corps.”
Press Release, October 24, 2012