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USACE receives federal funding to advance Louisville Metro Flood Protection System Reconstruction Project

Posted on March 15, 2023

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Louisville District has received $1 million in federal funding to advance the Louisville Metro Flood Protection System Reconstruction Project. The funds, which were received as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program, will be used to initiate the preconstruction engineering and design phase of the project.

“This funding will allow the Louisville District to begin the design process of this extremely important project for the Louisville Metro Area,” said Will Ailstock, USACE Louisville District, Chief, Civil Programs and Project Management Section. “We are eagerly looking forward to working with MSD to identify priority needs to begin the Repair, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation of the Louisville Metro Flood Protection System.”

USACE, in partnership with the non-federal sponsor—Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), completed a study in 2020. The study concluded with a recommendation to reconstruct the existing project to ensure the system continues to function as authorized. Major components of the project include repair and rehabilitation of 14 pump stations, modifications of two road closure structures, floodwall repairs and modifications, and gate repair and replacement. Once reconstructed, these measures will provide greater reliability to the Louisville Metro Flood Protection System by bringing 1950s-era components up to current standards.

“Following Louisville’s 1937 flood, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed and built a system of levee, flood wall and pump stations to protect the city from flooding,” said Tony Parrott, MSD Executive Director. “More than 70 years later, the community still counts on much of that original system when river waters rise. Louisville MSD today is steward of this important asset, as flood protection joins stormwater management and wastewater treatment to comprise our three-in-one utility approach to serve our citizens on a daily basis.”

“In 2018, an Army Corps evaluation of the entire Ohio River flood protection system resulted in a slate of approximately $200 million in needed updates and renewals for the system to continue to protect our growing community – the only need was funding for those improvements,” Parrott added. “The inclusion of $1 million in this year’s Army Corps work plan is a needed down payment on flood protection for Louisville and sets the stage to pursue additional federal funding to move these critical improvement projects forward. MSD appreciates the leadership of Senator McConnell and the Army Corps to secure this funding, as well as Mayor Greenberg and Louisville Metro’s continued support of safe, clean waterways for our residents.”

These funds, in conjunction with funds from MSD, will be used to design and prepare documents for advertisement and award of the first contract. Funding will still be required to award the contract and initiate construction. The project will be constructed in phases due to size and cost; therefore, the time to complete the project will depend upon future funding but is expected to take 5-6 years at a minimum.

The Louisville Metro Flood Protection System consists of a more than 26-miles of levee and floodwall, with 15 federally constructed pumping stations for maintaining interior drainage in times of flooding. The project was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in response to devastating floods that occurred in the Ohio River Valley in 1937 and was assigned to local interests beginning in February 1957. The project affords protection for loss of life and property damage to the City of Louisville against an Ohio River flood equal to the maximum flood of record in January 1937.


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