HEARTLAND FLOOD: Levee repairs expected near OFFUTT Air Force Base

After years of delay, work has finally started to upgrade the levees in the Bellevue area.

The March flood damaged the Missouri River levee system that protects the OFFUTT Air Force base. This caused water to invade the base, causing close to a billion dollars in damage to the base.

“I think the base was prepared for water but I don’t think it was prepared for how quickly it was going to invade the base,” said Colonel Alan Dayton with the OFFUTT Air Force Base.

The fix includes raising to levees an additional two feet to increase protection of the base.

This damage happened just weeks before the Papio Natural Resource District was scheduled to begin upgrades to the levees.

Congressman Don Bacon said the levee project is important because without the commitment the United States Air Force Base was not willing to replace the runway that was damaged in the flood.

“This is not only vital to the economic wellbeing of our local area but for the strategic wellbeing of our country STRATCOM is the keeper of the keys for nuclear deterrence and without that runway that four-star general cannot get out of base Within ten minutes 15 minutes in time of crisis with Russia or China,” said Bacon.

Businesses in Old Town Bellevue were also damaged. Rebecca Wells has been here for more than 20 years and she hopes the commitment to repair the levees will change things on the streets.

“It’s not as busy as other years you know, I look outside and it’s kind of dead,” said Wells.

Officials say it took a team effort of State, local, and Federal officials to fix the levees. All of the cooperation shows just how important this project is.

Officials expect the Missouri River levee system to be completed by 2021.