KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City's flood-damaged Brush Creek will be getting back in shape with the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). A combined channel alignment and embankment stabilization project has been approved for state and federal disaster assistance, according to disaster recovery officials. The project will repair portions of Brush Creek damaged in the early October severe storms and flooding. Instead of simply repairing the damages, disaster officials have agreed to a plan of using the natural features that already exist such that damages from future similar flooding events are prevented. This allows for greater flood protection at a lesser price -- a double benefit to the community.
Kansas City became eligible for Public Assistance funds after President Clinton's Oct. 14 major disaster declaration for Missouri. The rushing storm waters damaged retaining walls along Brush Creek Boulevard, washed away the channel lining from Brush Creek, and left piles of debris. The new channel will be wider, deeper and straighter than the old channel and because the channel can be realigned, the retaining walls supporting Brush Creek Boulevard can be replaced with a natural sloping embankment. This will allow the Creek to contain and move floodwaters more safely, thus reducing the potential for flooding. The new channel will be designed to carry a 100-year flood event and, together with the structural support of Brush Creek Boulevard, will cost approximately $475,000.
Instead of repairing the retaining walls along Brush Creek Boulevard, and the concrete lining along Brush Creek, the project anticipates realigning the Brush Creek channel between Woodland Avenue and Route 71, and to structurally support Brush Creek Boulevard at the same time. The City has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop plans for the new channel alignment.
FEMA and SEMA typically will restore a damaged structure to its pre-flood condition, and is supporting this project because it is cost effective and makes good sense. In this instance, to cut the channel into the natural bedrock as proposed provides stronger walls and lining for the stream, and to stabilize Brush Creek Boulevard at the same time, makes the whole project even better. This is a very good use of the natural features to mitigate against flood events.
"The City deserves a lot of credit for thinking this far in advance," said John A. Miller, Director of FEMA's Region 7 in Kansas City. "This is a great opportunity for us to rebuild better. An action like this should prevent future losses and break the costly 'repair-damage-repair' cycle for this community. It is another example of the partnership between local, state and federal governments that benefits everyone."
Cost estimates of approved, eligible work for repair to the condition prior to the flood are $576,801. The estimated cost of the improved project, however, will save the taxpayers money. The estimated cost of realigning the channel, cutting the new channel into the bedrock and removing the dangerous curves, will be $480,000. Of the approved costs, FEMA will pay 75%, the State will pay 10% and the applicant will pay the remaining 15%. The federal share of Kansas City's approved project for the repair of Brush Creek is $432,601 plus administrative costs.
Additional Infrastructure support provided to Kansas City, Missouri, as a result of the October storms includes emergency response activities at the time of the storm, emergency response planning for future events, and debris removal.
Under the Public Assistance program, state and federal disaster assistance also may be provided to repair or replace disaster-damaged facilities owned by certain private, nonprofit organizat...