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Turah levee

During the spring flooding, the river hydraulics ate away at this levee near Turah. The Army Corps of Engineers stepped in to make emergency repairs, and said it could do that for the Orchard Homes levee if it becomes unstable before more permanent repairs are put in place next year.

Missoula County is taking another run at fixing the Orchard Homes levee before high water hits this year.

On Tuesday, the commissioners agreed for the second time in two months to sign a cooperation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore flood control measures that were damaged during last spring’s flooding. The need for redundancy was due to the government shutdown, which paused the paperwork, and the commission chairperson change from Dave Strohmaier to Cola Rowley.

“So we voided the old one and updated this one,” said Erik Dickson, the Missoula County engineer. “We’re running short of time and want to do this before high water.”

He added that about 800 feet of the levee need rehabilitation, costing in the neighborhood of $1 million. Damages include “scouring” of levee slopes and the toes, which are at the base of the slopes; a large scour hole, a 6-foot-long crack; and loss of embankment material.

Under the agreement, the county will cover $193,780 in costs, which is about 20 percent of the overall repairs. The county can provide cash or “in kind” contributions for the work.

The Army Corps will pick up the remaining $968,900, with the numbers based on the “best estimates” reflecting projected costs and inflation.

About 65 residences, mainly in the Orchard Homes area north of Third Street, were evacuated last May after the Clark Fork River experienced its highest flows in 100 years. The floodwaters came from the melting snowpack, which was at 150 percent of average in the surrounding mountains.

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