Residents express concerns over Milton floodwall project

Residents are afraid protection for others could spell trouble for them.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 10:43 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A project meant to protect homes and businesses from flooding is raising concerns for others.

Last month, it was announced that more than $190 million in funding has been secured for the Milton floodwall project.

Wednesday evening, people had a chance to ask officials questions about the project during a public hearing at Milton City Hall.

The levee is expected to be one and a half miles long. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will provide protection for more than 600 homes and business.

However, people who live past where the floodwall will end and on the other side of it are expressing concerns about the project possibly making flooding worse where they live.

“I’m just really concerned when they put the levee in, all the water they’re trying to keep from coming into Milton will come out on us,” Lisa Jarvis, who lives along East Mud River Road, said. “That water that comes through town is going to go down to Ona. My mother lives in Ona. She’s 80 years old. Where’s she going to go?”

Brian Lowe is the project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“As far as concerns from any property owner on the outside of the levee, I’d say we’re required to look at any potential adverse impacts to properties, and if any kind of impact is anticipated, to mitigate for that appropriately. Most impacts that could arise from this project, we think we could avoid or minimize or eliminate.”

Lowe says they’re looking into slight alignment shifts for the floodwall and different approaches to modify the Mud River to allow better hydraulic conveyance.

Some have also asked why not built a damn instead of a floodwall. In response to that, Lowe said, “That would have to be fully evaluated, but right now we’ve only got authorization to move forward with the levee project. That’s what’s been investigated.”

Jarvis says even after bringing her worries and questions to the public hearing, she doesn’t feel any more at ease.

“I don’t believe them,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable now. I’m very upset. It’s not right.”

Another public workshop will be held on the issue from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Milton City Hall.