Big Island Levee Modifications Causing Some Controversy - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Big Island Levee Modifications Causing Some Controversy

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Big changes are on the way for Big Island, as rock island prepares to turn a 90 acre cornfield into a shopping destination.

Before it can do that though, a road needs to be built over the Big Island levee.

Which means removing and rebuilding 200 feet of levee.

That levee is proving to be a sticking point.

The city does not own the levee, it needs the approval of two other government bodies before sending the paperwork to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The levee is owned by the Big Island River Conservancy district, as well as the Village of Milan.

Both groups paid for the levee to be built back in the 80's to protect the homes from the nearby Mississippi and Rock Rivers.

They take protecting that levee seriously, and Milan's mayor says Rock Island needs to give it much more information.

"I've seen times when downtown Milan had a couple feet of water in it, that was back in the old days I guess, been on a lot of levee crews sandbagging different points around town," says Mayor Duane Dawson.

He helped get the Big Island levee built back in the early 80's. He hasn't seen the old days of flooding since, which is why Dawson says Rock Island needs to give the village lots more information.

"We've got a partial plan, we don't want to do things piecemeal, we want to see the total plan, which I think we have a right to do, we own the levee," says Dawson.

He says the village has a basic site plan, but not enough details about drainage, runoff, and truck traffic.

"I think the levee would have to be built to a little bit different specification because levees don't have traffic on them," says Dawson.

This spot is the only spot that the city of Rock Island could build an access road of highway 92 into the Big Island area. The problem is because the levee is so steep, it can't just put a road over the hill, it'll have to build a new portion that's set back from this existing area.

"In order to make this project work you have to configure the levee so it has a more direct route, to get through, and then it opens up the property on the outside to do the development," says Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley.

He says the Army Corps of Engineers will thoroughly review the plan to modify the levee. A process that takes up to a year and a half. Not counting the time Milan and Big Island take to review it.

"We wouldn't go forward with the project if we didn't think it was an excellent project for the community, good for the Quad Cities," says Pauley.

"We need a lot of information before we can agree to anything like this happening, it's our levee," says Dawson.

No road construction can take place until the levee review is complete and accepted.

Mayor Pauley estimates it will take four years to complete the Big Island project.