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Breaking ground on the new Hamburg levee project

Two years after the floods the SW Iowa town reaches a milestone
Posted at 6:33 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 19:33:01-04

HAMBURG, Iowa. (KMTV) — Hamburg is still rebuilding two years after the devastating floods. But a big sign of improvement happened today: there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new levee project.

The new Hamburg levee project is aiming to achieve a higher level of protection for a city once ravaged by flooding. But Hamburg Mayor Cathy Crain says this was far from an easy feat. Since 2011 the city has needed a bigger and better levee.

"In 2019, only a 5 ft. levee stood to protect us when 18 ft. of water overtook our town," Crain said. "We lost water, sewer and natural gas for 120 days, two-thirds of our town covered in water, only three of our 44 businesses could open."

All but around 100 residents stayed, doing what they could do to help the city. That's when the Mayor says they met with the state of Iowa in full force.

"The levee is brought to you by the state of Iowa, legislature, and federal economic development," Crain said. "And by the way, another first, this is the first time Federal Economic Development has ever funded a levee in their history."

The levee will be raised by 8 ft. to protect the city from the Missouri River. Col. Mark Himes with the Army Corps of Engineers is confident in the levee's technical standards.

"So what this levee will do is add some additional protection, some flood resiliency to support the existing levees that are on the Missouri River as well," Himes said.

Himes and Crain want to reassure the public that this levee will provide a layer of defense that is desperately needed.

"Here's what we say, 'It's about time,'" Crain said.

Congresswoman Cindy Axne was also in attendance. The levee is expected to be done by September.

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