Mar 5, 2014 7:50 PM
Situated next to the Sacramento River, Hamilton City is no stranger to rising water and flooding concerns. However, a new project has been approved to build a new and improved levee to protect the city. The current levee system is deteriorating and should there be a flood, Hamilton City would be in danger. A $52 million federal project has been given the green light to start construction on the new levee.
"We’re very excited. There were some locals predicting that this project would never go through," said Dan James, chief for the Hamilton City Fire Department. For decades, residents and lawmakers have been trying to upgrade the current levee, which is over a hundred years old. "The levee has long since outlived its structural capabilities and its design capabilities. It’s deteriorated in various places way into the tow or the integrity of the levees," explained Larry Jones, Sheriff for Glenn County.
Over the years, local officials have used flood fight money from the county and held fundraisers. It’s was all in an effort to make repairs and build a smaller set back levee, but it just wasn't enough. “This was a situation where we needed major surgery. A band aid wasn't going to fix it forever," said James.
The new levee will have far reaching effects beyond the homes and businesses in Hamilton City. “Everybody deals with the public safety aspect here with the community. Obviously that's huge but we also have the agricultural area that we're protecting. We have a main artery here, state route 32," said Jones.
Officials say they're cautiously optimistic until groundbreaking takes place... but this day has been a long time coming. “This is a win, win, win for everyone and hopefully this will protect our area for many, many years to come," said Jones. James added "I'll be glad to someday say that I won't be out here on New Year’s Eve wishing someone happy new year during the middle of a sand bagging operation."
The project has gotten its first installment of $8.6 million towards the levee. It's currently being planned by the Army Corps of Engineers and will likely be completed in multiple phases over several years.
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