City foots hefty bill for levee study - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City foots hefty bill for levee study

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May 4, 2004

Albany- No one can forget the flood of 1994, and a study done by the Army Corps of Engineers pinpoints several areas where building a levee could help prevent history from repeating itself, but city commissioners still have some concerns.

"We don't want to go pursue 15, or 20, or 30 million dollars not knowing if a levee is feasible," says City Manager Janice Allen Jackson.

The city has already spent money on studies in the past, and never built a levee. The first time the engineers said a levee wouldn't be feasible. Then after looking at it again they changed their decision, but the effects on the environment including in that study. So, the city has decided have engineers look at it again, this time completing research into a levee's effects on the environment.

"There's an old landfill that's adjacent to the river. They want to study the impact the levee might have on that landfill," adds Jackson.

In addition, there are some questions about how some endangered species of sea life living along the river would respond to the new structure.

"What I would really like to see come out of this is a sound judgement from all of us to understand that with the study, if it occurs, then we will be prepared. Without the study we won't be prepared," says Ward 6 Commissioner Tommie Postell.

Still, city officials say a flood prevention structure is Albany is a long way off.

"A levee study for a project of that magnitude is not something that happens overnight," Jackson explains.

In fact, it could take months, and even if engineers say a levee is the way to go, Albany would have to come up with anywhere from $15 to nearly$40 million to built it.

There is an upside to the commission spending $145,000. They won't be doing it alone. That's just half the cost of the study. They are splitting the cost 50/50 with the federal government.

The study will also look into whether the dollar amount of property that would be protected would be beneficial in relation to the cost of a levee.

Posted at 6:40 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com