The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it expects to start filling the gap between two sections of flood control wall along the American River at Watt Avenue today.
A week and a half ago, crews were removing sample sections of test walls in anticipation of beginning construction to fill the gap today. In 2002, the Army Corps finished building long sections of cutoff walls inside levees to increase flood protection. John Hoge with the Army Corps says the project called for crews to come back later to fill in gaps.
"These walls were installed about 70-feet deep through the center of the levees and when we came upon a really difficult impediment like Watt Avenue here, we skipped over the project," he says. "That’s why we have about 30 gaps in the cutoff walls along the Sacramento and American River that we’ve been closing for the last four years.”
The Corps plans to have all of the gaps filled by the time the new spillway at Folsom Dam is finished in 2017.
"Once that’s done in 2017, it’ll be able to release 165,000 cubic-feet per second of water ahead of a major flood event to draw down the reservoir," Hoge says. "But, we can’t do that until these gaps are filled.”
The Corps has filled 11 gaps so far and has about 10 remaining.