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Pike County flood mitigation project marks first steps

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) - To prevent a recurrence of the 400-year flood event that happened in 1977, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed the need for flood protection in Pikeville, Coal Run Village, and Elkhorn City. They proposed adding floodwalls to these areas.

On Tuesday, federal, state, and local officials joined at the Pike County Courthouse to sign a project partnership agreement between the Department of the Army and the Pike County Fiscal Court for the Levisa Fork Floodproofing Project in Coal Run.

“We have all seen the devastation in the Big Sandy Valley. My parents’ business was flooded on May 7, 1984. It’s a day I will never forget. The Levisa Fork Flood Proofing project that we are getting ready to start could have spared my parents and a lot of other families significant financial and emotional hardship.”

Pike County Fiscal Court applied for $442,105 for the Levisa Fork Basin Flood Damage Reduction Project, which will use an ARC grant as matching funds to complete the design of the Coal Run Village Flood Wall and to acquire 10 structures for this project.

The project calls for:

  • A floodwall to protect the north end of Pikeville, including Pikeville High School.
  • A combination of floodwall and levee to protect a large portion of Coal Run Village.
  • A ringwall to protect Millard School.

In addition to the flood barriers, the project identifies more than 2,000 structures eligible for floodproofing or acquisition.

Those include:

  • 520 residential acquisitions
  • 967 residential floodproofing structures
  • 443 nonresidential acquisitions
  • 28 nonresidential floodproofing structures
  • 26 public structures potentially eligible for protect-in-place

“If another event were to occur in Coal Run, much of U.S 23 that runs through Coal Run would be under 5 to 6 feet of water. For that reason, I can’t imagine the devastation that would occur if it wasn’t possible to get emergency vehicles in there. What this project will allow us to do is to save lives,” said Coal Run Village Mayor Andrew Scott.

No announcement has been made when construction will start. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

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