Innovative levee design leads to FEMA approval – insightful soil management improves sustainability and reduces costs
In partnership with the Cities of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is constructing flood risk reduction improvements along the Menomonee River. We’re working with MMSD to complete the final phase, Phase 2B, of the Western Milwaukee Flood Management project. Phase 2B is scheduled for completion in 2025—with levee design, floodwalls, railroad coordination, and FEMA floodplain mapping.
Our teams developed the design and construction documents for a $40.9 million earthen levee and floodwall system, associated interior drainage storm sewers, and waterway modifications—in a tight urban river corridor within a brownfield area. Levee design was complicated by the presence of an active railway between the river and the downstream levee tie-in location. We used an uncommon hanging levee design approach, approved by FEMA, that allows the levee system to avoid tying into natural high ground at the downstream end and yet still be eligible for accreditation.
To reduce project costs, we developed an innovative soil management approach that involved building the levee entirely of reused on-site contaminated soils. In addition to avoiding soil disposal fees, this sustainable strategy eliminated the need to haul soils off-site and the associated greenhouse gas generation.
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