In a joint meeting Tuesday, supervisors in both Pottawattamie and Harrison Counties voted to approve a change aimed at speeding up repair a damaged drainage district levee that was a key element in flooding north of Council Bluffs last year.
Damage to the Coulthard Levee that runs through the DeSoto Bend Wildlife Refuge originally occurred during the flooding of 2011 and had not been repaired. During last year’s flooding, Missouri River water poured through the unrepaired hole in the levee and contributed to flooding north of Council Bluffs that inundated thousands of acres of farmland and threatened Interstate 29.
Supervisors in both counties agreed to hire Bolton-Menk Engineering to replace Sundquist Engineering to provide plans and specifications for repairs of the Coulthard Levee.
Harrison County Supervisor Walter Utman said Harrison County, the lead agency in the repair of the Coulthard Levee, has received more than $4 million in state funding to repair the levee.
During the joint meeting held by teleconference, Utman said Sundquist Engineering had not completed the plans needed to seek bids for the Coulthard Levee repair project. Money allocated by the state to fund the levee repair must be used by Dec. 31.
Utman recommended replacing Sundquist Engineering with Bolton-Menk Engineering, the firm that has engineered the repair of several drainage district levee systems south of the Coulthard Levee.
John Rosengren, an engineer with Bolton-Menk, developed plans for repair of the Vanman Levee, which is south of and connects to the Coulthard Levee. Because of that work, he is familiar with the repair needs of the Coulthard Levee.
Rosengren said he hopes to complete plans for the Coulthard Levee repair in time to let bids for the construction work in late June, with the goal being to begin work on both the Coulthard and Vanman levee repairs in July or August.
Rosengren said Bolton-Menk Engineering was hired earlier to develop plans for the repair of the Pidgeon Creek, Honey Creek and Vanman levees, which run south of the Coulthard Levee toward Council Bluffs. He said repair work on those Pidgeon Creek and Honey Creek levee systems is between 80% and 90% completed.