Officials gathered October 8 to discuss the Tulsa and West Tulsa Levee feasibility study and tentatively-selected plan to improve the flood control system for the area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Tulsa-West Tulsa Levees Integrated Feasibility Study Report and Environmental Assessment, released September 16 for a 33-day public comment period, evaluated various alternatives to upgrade the Tulsa-West Tulsa levees to improve flood control and safety in the area. The report’s release comes months after floods affected Sand Springs and west Tulsa in May and June.
The tentative plan includes adding 13 miles of a filtered berm on levees A and B, a filter at the Charles Page Boulevard floodway structure, two detention ponds above levee B and rebuilding seven pump stations. This plan is estimated to cost $150-$200 million for construction.
“All of these (tentatively-planned upgrades) are to remedy issues with internal erosion as we saw in the 2019 flood event,” Lead Engineer on the project “Eaf” Redden said. “This was the best solution to the problems we saw.”
Specifically, Redden said the new pump stations will help prevent seepage and the filters will help prevent ‘sand boils’ like the kind that happened during the 2019 flood, for example.
Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Bryan Taylor said officials evaluated factors like cost, environmental impact and effectiveness in reducing risk in choosing their tentative plan to improve the levee system.
“It turned out to be just what we needed to address the issue quickly,” Taylor said.
Following the public comment period, the pre-construction engineering and design phase is expected to begin after September 2020, then construction is estimated to take between two and three years.
Jan Hollingshead, who lives in the area protected by the levees and attended the Oct. 8 meeting, said she thinks the plan will help reduce flood risk to the area.
“I just wish it would start sooner,” Hollingshead said of the project.
Rhonda Hensley also lives in the area and attended the meeting.
“This will help,” Hensley said. “Something’s getting done finally.”