Army Corps repairs once flooded river rock wall near Decatur, NE - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Army Corps repairs once flooded river rock wall near Decatur, Nebraska


Even in a drought there are places along the Missouri River where water isn't supposed to be.

Wednesday, crews from the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shored up a revetment, a wall of rocks, that water didn't used to make it past, until last summer's flood.

Last July, crews rushed in with truckloads of rip rap to help protect a bridge that connects Decatur, Nebraska and Onawa, Iowa, across the Missouri River.

The wall of rocks extended north and south of the bridge.

It's job was to keep the water where it was supposed to be and prevent erosion.

But, the river went over the wall leaving crews with a big repair project.

The Corps is shoring up the wall in Decatur.

The days are long for John Bartunek.

He's spending 8 to 12 hour days, rebuilding a wall of rocks that currently sits in the middle of the Missouri River.

The river used to stop at those rocks.

"The challenges are finding the degraded structures and getting it back into shape again," said John Bartunek, Heavy Equipment Operator.

Before the flooding last year, the revetment stood about 3 or 4 feet above the surface of the Missouri River. Now, crews are near Decatur, Nebraska trying to build this wall back up and reduce the amount of water back behind it.

One reason why, to make this part of the Mighty Mo deeper.

"Right now the river in this stretch is so wide, that the Navigation Channel is more shallow than it should be," said Matt Krajewski, Missouri River Project Operations Manager.

Besides restoring the original navigation channel, the Corps and other contractors are trying to prevent more erosion from occurring along the shoreline, and, keep people safe.

"There's sandbars that are actually in the navigation channel. This poses safety threats to the public and to recreation boaters as well as commercial boats and fishermen," said Krajewski.

The Corps recently finished work downstream at Kansas Bend, about three weeks ago, and they've been at Decatur for the past two weeks.

But, there's still a lot more work to go.

The Omaha Corps, along with contractors, are working all the way from Rulo, NE to Sioux City, Iowa through 2014.

"People are working overtime. They're doing two or three things at once, and it's kind of a challenge for everybody to have the right thing in the right place because we have so many things going on at the same time," said Laura Bentley, Project Manager.

Necessary multi-tasking for helping to dump 500,000 tons of rock up and down the river, one drop at a time.

The work being done is part of a project stretching from St. Louis, Missouri to Montana.

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