The Army Corps of Engineers is removing the temporary barriers that currently protect the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway.
The temporary barriers are called “HESCO bastions.” They’re collapsible wire mesh filled with sand and protected by a heavy duty fabric. They temporarily raised the levee to 55 feet at the Cairo gauge.
Now, the HESCO bastions are going away, reducing the levee’s height by four feet. But crews should begin on permanently rebuilding the levee within about 38 days.
Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Jim Pogue says lowering the levee temporarily will not threaten the floodway.
“Depending on the weather, it should go pretty quickly because the probability of any problem from the river is right around a 4 percent possibility that it would come up to any level that would be problematic for us.”
The Corps’ next step is to rebuild the levee to 55 feet.
The ultimate goal is to restore the levee to its original height of 62 and a half feet by the end of the year.