The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Omaha District awarded a $1.68 million construction contract to Midwest Construction Company, Inc. of Nebraska City, Neb., on Friday, Jan. 3 for the repair of approximately 300 feet of the right bank of the Platte River approximately 1.25 river miles from the confluence of the Platte and the Missouri River. At this location, the entire depth of riverbank has washed away, thereby allowing significant volumes of water to prematurely exit the channel and begin to establish a new path to the Missouri River south of its historic path.
“The intent of this repair is to restore a single, reliable confluence for the Platte and Missouri Rivers that can efficiently merge flows from both systems and to retain its self-clearing ability to avoid adverse impacts to the Missouri River navigation channel,” said Dave Sobczyk, USACE Operations Project Manager for the Omaha-District Missouri River Project Office.
The bank will be reconstructed to match its pre-flood elevations and although not intended to provide flood protection, large rock is being incorporated in the repair to prevent the bank from washing out again during submergence from future flood events. The terms of the contact require that initial bank closure be complete in mid-February 2020, and the remainder of the repair substantially complete in early March 2020.
Since March 2019, USACE has been monitoring the bank failure and has provided technical assistance to state and local authorities on potential mitigation efforts. However, USACE emergency assistance authorizations were limited due to the absence of any federally authorized flood protection projects in the area. The USACE decision to proceed with a repair contract at this time was based on the recent availability of supplemental navigation Operations & Maintenance funding coupled with the current lower river stages that are more conducive to a safe and efficient repair.