R616-613 levee

Image shows Levee R616-613 looking upstream on the Papillion Creek (west) from approximately the confluence of Big Papillion Creek with the Missouri River May 29, 2019.

(Omaha) -- Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract for repairs to a major stretch of Missouri River levee near Offutt Air Force Base.

Matt Krajewski is chief of the Readiness Branch for the Corps' Omaha District. He says a contract was awarded Wednesday to a contractor from Pasco, Washington.

"We awarded a $10.3 million contract to repair levee systems R-616-613 and R-613 south of Offutt Air Force Base," said Krajewski. "Work is anticipated to begin on these levees within the next couple of weeks."

The levee systems included in the contract covers the Missouri River on the Nebraska side starting at Highway 370 south to the Platte River. It also includes portions of Papillion Creek and Platte River levees. Krajewski says crews have also made progress on a priority breach closure on L-601 near Bartlett.

"We are at about 90% completion with the final sand berm grading and rip-rap placement," said Krajewski. "Haul road deconstruction is all that remains. The sand berm and levee are being shaped with the follow-on work to continue."

For the L-575 levee system near Hamburg, Krajewski says crews have completed initial closures on two breaches in the system. Contractors are expected to finish follow-up work on the second closure by the end of the month. Krajewski says planning is still ongoing for a permanent repair to the system.

"We are still working through our contracting process to add a clay cap to the sand breach closures," said Krajewski. "Engineering and design is performing damage assessments and site visits to assess potential for additions to the scope on the stage two contract. Construction is expected to commence towards the end of this week."

The Corps says temporary repairs on L-611-614 near Council Bluffs and L-550 near Watson are expected to be finished sometime next week. While repairs continue to damaged levees, Mike Swenson from the Missouri River Water Management Division says releases from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota remain at nearly double the average for this time of year.

"The forecast shows Gavins Point releases will be held at 70,000 cfs through August to manage reservoir levels and continue evacuating water from the reservoirs," said Swenson.

Officials are still estimating the cost to fully rehabilitate the levee system from spring damage at $1 billion.