Floodwall planned for Johnson County

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky’s fifth district knows finds satisfaction in his work.

“Knowing that a good number of the people I represent no longer will have to fear when a cloud appears on the horizon,” he said.

Flooding in Johnson County has been a problem for years with important buildings like community centers and the judicial center regularly impacted. In 2015, lives were lost and homes destroyed in major flash flooding.

After that, city, state and federal officials began working on a solution.

Congressman Rogers had experience dealing with flooding from very early in his service when his district included the Cumberland River. He utilized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then and has called on them again this time.

The result of their work improved more than safety in the communities.

“You’re seeing business open up,” he said. “Where in the past would not risk that money knowing they would be flooded out next year.”

Officials emphasized at a kick-off event in Paintsville that projects like these may take a long time.

Army Corps of Engineers Col. Eric Crispino is building out the plan.

”We use the acronym FWEEP,” he said. “Which stands for Flood Warning Emergency Evacuation Plan. And that will consist of a series of sensors and gauges along the creek and in the watershed.”

Those will connect to an alert system to let residents know the situation is serious. This could be mass text-messages or even a siren.

Those safety elements will be phase one of the project, and could begin as early as next year.

”I think this project, when it’s finally over, will afford a great number of people the protection that they should have,” said Congressman Rogers.

Officials believe construction may begin on the actual floodwall in various locations in 2022 or 2023.

The project is funded almost exclusively by $118 million dollars from the Federal Government.

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