(CN) – Three contractors received a $20 million job to repair a Missouri levee that the government intentionally breached last spring because of Mississippi River flooding concerns.
The intentional breach, designed to save the town of Cairo, Ill., pitted the interests of two states against each other. Missouri’s lawsuit for an injunction claimed that saving the small Illinois town would harm Missouri farmers and flood the land with contaminated water.
Siding with the Army Corps of Engineers, however, a federal judge upheld the decision as appropriate to ensure navigation and flood control along the Mississippi.
Though the 2-mile breach of the Birds Point levee did lower river levels, it flooded 130,000 acres of farmland and several dozen homes.
To restore the southeastern Missouri levee, the Memphis, Tenn., district of the corps awarded contracts to Young’s General Contracting, of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; Kingridge Enterprises Inc., of Little Rock, Ark.; and Harold Coffey Construction Co., of Hickman, Ky.
“This is the first significant step in restoring the confluence area and the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway from the damages incurred from the historical flood of 2011,” Memphis district commander Col. Vernie Reichling said in a statement. “Our team, made up of our partners in Missouri and in the Memphis District, has worked diligently to set the conditions for an excellent construction season this year.”