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Levees drying up in Baton Rouge, showing damage across the country

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Posted: Jun 27, 2011 9:51 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: Jun 27, 2011 9:51 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: levee, Baton Rouge, damage, river, Mississippi, Corps

BATON ROUGE- Flaws were left behind by the record level of the Mississippi River and could take up to $2 billion to fix.

In Baton Rouge, since the river dipped below flood stage, people are seeing fewer sand bags and more dry levee land.

Department of Public Works Engineer Bryan Harmon said, "Within the next several weeks, people won't recognize that there was a major flood."

But even though conditions are mostly improving on the dry side of the levee across most of the country, engineers are finding, on the river side, damage left behind by the high river water.

Bob Anderson, spokesman for the Mississippi River Commission, said, "It was a flood of historic proportions and the current and the power of the river created a number of places along the river where levees will have to be repaired. We had a lot of under seepage and of course in core areas we had to actually blow up the levee."

And with some problem areas, like the levee near Farr Park, still showing signs of those problems, eyes are still open in Baton Rouge.

"During the high water event, there were some extremely high velocities, which have the tendency to cut into the levee banks so that is a concern," said Harmon.

But a plan to repair the river's wrath in the Baton Rouge area is already underway. It's the same plan the Army Corps of Engineers will likely use on other struggling spots along the entire river.

Anderson said, "The system did work, but in order to make sure it works again the next time we have a flood, we have to fix everything that was broken this year."

Anderson says the commission and the Corps expects to be out of the flood fight officially in two weeks. That's when they'll start fully investigating damage across all 1,000 miles of the river. Anything they find, they hope to have repaired by next high-water season.

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