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Trinity Corridor Project Resumes Following Levee Repair

By Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After two years of uncertainty, numerous Trinity River Corridor Projects around Dallas are getting the green light again, after the city apparently corrected some levee repair problems.

Levees in Dallas and across America got much closer looks after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.  And for a while, the Trinity River Levees here in Dallas coudln’t measure up to the new standards.  There were 198 so-called “deficiencies” that meant nothing inside the levees could be addressed out of safety concerns.

Projects with their footings outside the earthworks – like the Margareat Hunt Hill bridge – were not impacted, but inside the levees even simple projects like nature trails were at risk.

“Each time we do something within the levees we need to ask permission from the corps,” says Councilman Dave Neumann, who chaired the Trinity River Corridor Project.  Neumann says after two years of working with the Army Corps of Engineers all but five deficiencies were corrected.  “What it will do is allow the city to get ‘at it,’ to start the work to repair the levees to meet the national standards of the corps of engineers.”

On Thursday Neuman, Mayor Dwaine Caraway, and other city officials announced the Trinity projects are back on track barring something unexpected.  Mayor Caraway said, “This means that we can continue in the direction we’ve been headed, we should have our levees repaired and approved,”

But Col. Richard Maraskiof the corp of engineers cautioned, “It (approval) can’t be guaranteed until the reviews are complete, however we’re very encouraged by the preliminary information and data we’ve received from the city.”  Nonethelss it was good news for those along the levees.  “I’m jubilant,” says John Benda of the Fuel City Depot.  “What that means for us as property owner is the value has not been decreased its been increased in value.” And he won’t have to buy expensive new flood insurance.

Neumann says the new status also unlocks private giving to various Trinity River Corridor projects.  “I think over the past several years there’s been a natural reluctance on the citizen’s part to give some of their scare dollars to the Trinity.”  New Trinity levee tests will begin in July—if all goes well some new projects INSIDE the levees could come on line as soon as next year.

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