The Army Corps of Engineers has hired an Omaha contractor to shore up three levee segments in a nine-mile loop around Eppley Airfield and Carter Lake.
Navarro Enterprise Construction on Saturday began building a protective barrier along an estimated 3,600 feet of levee. Work is expected to be completed July 15.
The corps awarded a $1.4 million contract for the construction of seepage berms.
Col. Robert J. Ruch, the corps' Omaha district commander, said the three levee segments were identified by the Omaha Airport Authority and city officials as high priority and in need of federal help.
“There's seepage and (sand) boils there now — water is flowing,” Ruch said.
The seepage berms, or blankets, are a layer of heavy porous materials. They won't prevent Missouri River water from seeping through the levee, but they should hold the levee's soil particles in place.
The seepage berms will range from 40 feet to 150 feet wide, Ruch said.
Eppley Airfield already has a massive flood-fighting effort under way to install 70 pumping wells to control rising groundwater that threatens airport infrastructure.
The airport has identified nearly 70 problem areas on the grounds, including sand boils and sinkholes. Eppley expects to spend more than $15 million on the flood-fighting operation by the end of August.
The Corps of Engineers also has authorized seepage blankets on the Council Bluffs side of the levee.
Last week, crews from Weston Solutions began installing them along the levee near Dodge Riverside Golf Course. The first installation included the levee from Harrah's Boulevard north to the Interstate 480 bridge.
A total of six Council Bluffs locations were identified for the additional levee protection.
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