Section of Cape Girardeau floodwall being replaced

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Repair work on the Mississippi River floodwall continues Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

An 8-foot section of Cape Girardeau's downtown floodwall has been removed near the corner of Independence and Water streets as part of an $8 million project that promises to, when it's finished, shore up the city's aging flood protection system.

Workers from subcontractor BCI Construction USA Inc. removed the section Friday to replace a sagging portion of the wall, said Jeff Derrick, area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' office in Jackson. Derrick said the section is expected to be replaced within the next two to three weeks.

The section replacement is part of a yearlong project to renovate the flood-protection system. Other work includes replacing drains and adding more rock to prevent erosion.

A section of the Mississippi River floodwall is open for repairs Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 at the base of Independence Street in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

"That section needed to be replaced," Derrick said. "It had suffered from some shifting, and something was certainly not right with it."

The removed section had a portion of the "Mississippi River Tales" mural on it. Most of that mural remains intact, but a part of it at its southern edge is gone because of the work.

Old Town Cape is the organization that is in charge of the murals. Executive director Marla Mills said the group knew the floodwall work would affect the murals and that efforts were made to minimize damage. Old Town Cape's mural committee met last week, she said.

"We were aware they were going to take that section," Mills said. "Right now, we're monitoring the situation to see what the damage will be. The plan is that once it's replaced we'll see if it can be fixed back to the way it was or to do something else that would fit there."

The overall food-protection project was to be done by the end of the year but is behind schedule because of high river stages, Derrick said. Work began in 2008 on three projects being administered by the Corps of Engineers along the floodwall. All three phases of work -- entirely funded by federal dollars -- are now expected to be finished by early spring, he said.

The project has been divided up into three contracts awarded to three companies, BCI Construction USA Inc., Keith Contracting and McCormick Paving and Asphalt, said Stan Polivick, the city's storm-water coordinator. The floodwall repairs will cost $3 million. Electrical and mechanical work at two pumping stations will cost $2.07 million, while putting erosion control rock along 1,500 feet of embankment will cost $2.75 million, Polivick said.

The sagging panel, or monolith, was removed now because of the timing, Polivick said. The Mississippi River is low and is expected get even lower, he said. City leaders had hoped to put a third floodgate in the wall at that spot, Polivick said, but a lack of funds prevented it. The city would have had to come up with about $200,000 to install a third floodgate there, he said.

The project also includes upgrades at the pumps at the Mill Street pumping station, pumping grout to stop seepage under the wall where it meets the earthen levee north of downtown and extending the outflow culvert from the Merriwether Street pumping station.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

Independence and Water streets, Cape Girardeau MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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