Marseilles residents are waiting for answers on dam disaster

By Beau Ebenezer

May 22, 2013 Updated May 22, 2013 at 7:22 PM CDT

MARSEILLES Ill -- Tuesday night the Rock Island District's Army Corps of Engineers met with Marseilles residents to let them know where their residency will stand after last months flood wiped out houses along the Illinois river.

Affected Marseilles residents and the Army Corps of Engineers met to discuss the future of their damaged dam that left nearly 1,000 residents displaced.

A land dike was recently put in to control the flow of the Illinois river.

Nine Illinois river barges broke loose from their tow and collided with the Marseilles dam last month.

Many residents said they are looking into filing lawsuits against the barge company because they have never seen problems with their dam before the incident.

"Unbelievable. You wouldn't go up on a ladder in 75 mile per hour winds," said Marseilles resident, . "Just like you wouldn't go on the river with a 50 mile per hour current. That's not even counting when you get close to the dam."

Meanwhile, The Rock Island Army Corps of Engineers answered questions and laid out their plan which consists of temporary construction work this summer.

They said they are already in their first phase of preventing flooding from the dam in the near future.

"We'll make the repairs that we are required and authorized to the best of our abilities," said Col. Mark Deschenes of Army Corps of Engineers. "We will worry about who is paying for it later."

Some residents in the flood zone will be told whether they can stay at their current property and rebuild or if they will have to leave according to easement permits.

As for others who were effected but are not in the flooding zone, it will be up to them if they want to rebuild in their same location.

Army Corps of Engineers officials say that temporary repairs will cost between $7 million and $10 million and will be completed by the end of the summer.

As for permanent repairs, they will cost $50 million and will not be completed for another two to four years.

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