By Associated Press - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MONROE, La. (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will study the 81-year-old floodwall that protects Monroe from the Ouachita River, to try to determine why the structure is cracking.

Tensas Basin Levee District personnel first discovered the cracks in 2012. Of 28, four are considered significant.

The News-Star ( reports leaders of the Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District and Mississippi Valley Division announced the $300,000 study Monday.

“This project has done a phenomenal job for flood protection,” said Col. John Cross, commander of the Vicksburg District. “It was designed to last a long time, but not forever.”

Cross said the wall remains structurally sound for now, still able to protect people and property if the Ouachita River leaves its banks.

“We’ve sent several teams of engineers to inspect the wall and they’re confident it continues to function as it was intended,” Cross said. “But we can’t allow it to continue to deteriorate.”

Engineers will place meters as much as 150 feet below the surface of the soil to measure pressure and horizontal movement from season to season.

Levee district officials say they’re concerned because, although the wall still holds back water, the cracks appear to be getting worse.

John Stringer, executive director of the Tensas Basin Levee District, was attending the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association board meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, but was briefed on the inspection.

“There’s clearly some sort of subsurface instability that caused stress on the wall,” he said. “Hopefully the corps can expedite a solution. We believe the wall is safe, but in a high water event we would sandbag it for extra precaution.”


Information from: The News-Star,

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