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Nov 30

Federal funding awarded to raise Manhattan’s levee system

Posted on November 30, 2018 at 10:45 AM by Vivienne Uccello

(MANHATTAN, KS – November 30, 2018) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) notified City of Manhattan officials on Wednesday, November 28th that $18,494,400 will be awarded to fund improvements to Manhattan’s levee system in fiscal year 2019. The total cost of the project will be nearly $26 million, and City officials have several options to cover the remaining $7.5 million.

“We would especially like to thank Senator Moran’s office for working with us to achieve this funding award. The Manhattan community will be stronger and more protected because of this effort,” says Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr.

The Manhattan levee system provides fortification to 1,600 acres of land, 7,600 residents, and protects a total economic impact estimated at $1.2 billion.

The intent of this project is to raise the levee along the Big Blue River from the intersection of Casement Road and Hayes Drive, south to the confluence of the Kansas River and Big Blue River, and wrap around upstream to just west of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) facility. 

When completed, the levee project will increase the level of protection from flooding events along both the Blue and Kansas rivers, as well as replace several structures and equipment along the levee that were installed with the original project in the early 1960’s. 

Construction for the project could begin as soon as 2020 and is estimated to be completed by 2025. Linear Trail will remain on top of the levee and access to certain portions of the trail will be restricted during the construction phase.

 “The USACE project will increase the reliability of the levee system to protect our only water and waste water treatment plant facilities. These facilities service not only the City of Manhattan but many other customers in Riley and Pottawatomie Counties. Updating and replacing gate well structures, increasing levee height, adding new relief wells and reinforcement berms only adds to the level of protection for future events that would threaten Manhattan.” says Manhattan Public Works Director Robert Ott. 

A study conducted by the USACE in 2014 confirmed the need for improvements to the levee system in order to provide protection for a 100 year flood event. FEMA defines a 100 year flood as an event that has a 1% likelihood in any given year. Since the initial study, USACE has conducted an eight-year feasibility study and the City has authorized design of the improvements with the USACE. The total for design costs was $1,723,000, with the USACE share being $1,120,000 and the City’s share being $603,000. The City used storm water funds as the matching revenue source for the project. 

Levee improvements will include an increase in height, ranging from 1.5 feet to 3.3 feet, removal and replacement of 5 gate well structures, and the addition of 29 relief wells with 4,900 linear feet of collector system and 2,500 linear feet of under seepage control berms to accommodate the levee raising. 

The funding award is part of the Army Civil Works program which handles commercial navigation, flood and storm damage reduction, and aquatic ecosystem restoration, as well as other projects relating to the environment and natural disasters. On September 21, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act which provides $6.999 billion for the Army Civil Works Program, and provided the source for this funding award.

Additional information will be available on the City of Manhattan website at as the project moves forward.