Having a time frame of ten years, an extensive levee improvement project is about to hit the ground in Sacramento, with a focus on the Sacramento River south of downtown. The $1.5 billion project comes as the answer to recent changes in flood-control policy.
Reasons behind the levee improvement project are a long-running project by the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding the more accurate assessment of flood risk, as well as the latest state legislation, requiring that all areas in California meet a 200-year level of flood protection. Within the above context, the proposed improvements include building of deeper seepage walls inside the levees as well as measures against erosion protection. Additionally, the width of the Sacramento Bypass is planned to be doubled, also constructing a second weir to feed the wider bypass. During construction, it is estimated that 800 mature trees will have to be removed, adding up to nearly 10% of the trees along the levees.
Although new standards require wider and taller levees along specific locations of the Sacramento River, there is not enough room due to the intense urbanization and land development very close to the levee front. To save millions of dollars to be spent on relocation of residents and businesses the project predicts the widening of the Sacramento Bypass, north of the American River confluence and across the Sacramento River from Natomas.
The particular project comes after seven years of restrictions on flood safety, holding back construction and imposing high flood-insurance rates on property owners.