Levee improvements coming to Perry County to prevent flooding of crops, property

Levee improvements happening in Perry County

BIGELOW, Ark.(KTHV) - Legislation was passed in 2016 aimed at preventing another disaster like the 2015 flooding in Bigelow.

Back in 2015, the Arkansas River flooded twice at Toad Suck Dam. Many people lost property and valuable crops. After that, there were many questions being asked about the levee systems here in Perry County.

It's been 50 years since the levees along the Arkansas River in Perry County have seen any improvements.

"If there's no flood nobody cares about them," said Jason Trantina. "When there's a flood you start worrying about what the problem is."

Trantina is a land owner and the president of the newly created Perry County Levee District. 

The overgrown portion of the levee failed to hold back water in 2015, despite being as tall as the rest of the levee.

Trantina explained that water flowed over the top onto farmers' fields and miles away into the neighborhood behind him.

"This [area] is 2,000 feet of approximate levee they're fixing to replace," he said.

The first phase of work has already been completed. The district repaired the floodgate and corroded metal pipe that had allowed water to wash underneath and breach the levee.

"Beforehand those weren't even there," Trantina said. "They were all deteriorate, smashed, rusted out and everything."

If the water was to rise anymore, it would seal the gates off and not allow water to run backwards.

"It's the first time I've seen them. The river's been high enough since we've done this project that the river has been up on the gates," he said.

The second phase will reconstruct a washed-out, 2,000-foot stretch of the levee. Construction will begin soon and that will complete the levee projects here in Perry County.  

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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