In 2019, floods damaged levees across the Arkansas River Valley. As part of a joint effort with levee districts throughout the state, the Little Rock District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rushed to identify the damage and make repairs. Now, with fall crisp in the air, contractors working in the newly consolidated levee district of Conway and Pope County, are well ahead of schedule.
"It's pretty impressive work," said USACE project manager, Jonathan Gillip. "This levee has an aqueduct that's part of a local irrigation district running atop it. All of the work that has been done has to be completed without damaging the aqueduct or impacting farmland that adjoins the levee."
Gillip points to torn pieces of old metal culvert that workers removed from the damaged levee. "Those 42-inch culverts were installed back in the late 1940s or 50s. Over time they began to fail which allowed water to escape and begin to damage the structure. It's all being replaced with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipe that will last for hundreds of years."
With work that was expected to complete in February of 2021, Gillip is visibly pleased at the latest update he's received from workers on the project. "If the weather holds, they could be done as early as November."