MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – The City of Manhattan and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are getting ready to start a nearly $30 million construction project to upgrade the Manhattan Levee. The levee system is 6.2 miles long and protects around 7,600 people and $1.2 billion worth of economic development.

The project will raise around half of the levee up to three feet in some locations. However, Stormwater Compliance Engineer Bill Heatherman said some of the most important upgrades have nothing to do with height.

“Many of the gate wells, which are the big concrete structures that allow us to control water in and out, they’ll have concrete work to strengthen the walls and the integrity of them,” Heatherman said. “Then the biggest part of the work is we’re doing a lot of work to protect against groundwater seepage during the flood fight that might undermine the levees.”

The total project is expected to cost $29.6 million. The federal government will cover $12.4 million and the city of Manhattan will cover the rest.

Construction for the entire project is estimated to last just over 30 months and be completed by mid-to-late 2024. Access to Linear Trail will be closed for most of the construction period.