Federal Funding To Pay For Improvements To Tulsa Levee System

Wednesday, January 19th 2022, 9:47 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

More than $130 million from the federal government will fix the Tulsa levee system.

That levee system protects 65,000 acres of property and more than 10,000 people.

The county said if the levee failed, it could result in people dying and cause nearly $2 billion in property damage.

Three years ago, during the 2019 flooding, water covered miles of land, people lost their homes and damage was in the millions.

The federal government will now pay $137 million to make some much needed improvements.

"We are going to have, for generations to come, a levee system that we can rely on," Mayor G.T. Bynum said.

Commissioner Karen Keith said fixing the levee system has been in the works for 14 years.

The 2019 historic flooding showed how important the project was.

She said this will keep Tulsans safer.

"And for the Corps and when you look at all the packages they funded today, these all have life safety issues, and so we made that cut of one of their top priorities," she said.

Keith said they are still working out the details, but they hope the project will be complete in the next five years.

She said they will focus on modernizing the levees, adding more pump stations, fixing drains, and adding back up power.

"I think it's a game changer, a levee can always be overbridged if it was something completely catastrophic. This will make the levees more resilient into this century, and give all of our businesses a lot more security too," she said.

Keith said this project has been her main priority and passion.

None of this would be possible without everyone who helped.

"We all became, I would say, allies together because of this project and it literally took all of us to make this happen," she said.

She said the county does have to match 35 percent of the total, but she said they have thirty years to pay the money back.