No more $ for levee -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No more $ for levee

May 10, 2004

Albany-- Dougherty County commissioners say the won't spend any more of your tax money to build a levee on the Flint River.

Last week, city commissioners agree to spend $145,000 to continue a levee study. The levee could cost as much as $50 million, but there are alternatives that could reduce flooding at a fraction of the cost.

The Flint River's flowing water stirs both good and bad memories for the people of Albany. "We saw a devastating flood crest that put many homes in the Radium Springs area underwater."

Dr. Lindsay Boring helped his neighbors in the Radium Springs salvage what they could during the Flood of 1994. He worries a levee on the west bank of the river would only direct flood waters towards East Albany.

"As a taxpayer I resent spending $28 to 40 million on a project I see as being technically very poorly supported," said Boring.

He told his concerns about the levee to Dougherty County commissioners. They promised not to spend another dime to research or build a levee.

But both Dr. Boring and commissioners were optimistic that a new computer model designed by U.S. Geological Survey could help reduce future flooding.

"If the USGS estimates the river will peak at 30 feet above flood stage say 12 to 24 hours in advance, the model can be used to show which neighborhoods should be evacuated," said City Engineer Randy Weathersby. An advance warning we lacked in 1994, that could save lives.

The USGS also found other ways to flooding. "There are things that act as impediments to the flow, like obstacles under bridges, islands, and sandbars, and things like that. They could be removed to increase the flow rate," said Weathersby.

County commissioners made no decisions on either study at their meeting today.

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