North Mankato is expressing urgency for a construction project to fix the levee near Highway 169 this summer before FEMA publishes new flood plain maps in the fall of 2019.

While the levee is technically under the jurisdiction of Mankato, the impact from the failure to make corrections could be detrimental to a majority of businesses and homes in lower North Mankato.

Last year FEMA identified a flaw in the flood control system for the Minnesota River and determined the area needs to be raised to prevent floodwaters from reaching residential areas. If the issue isn’t corrected by 2019, FEMA could put portions of Mankato and North Mankato in a flood plain. It would require those living or working in the area to purchase flood insurance, which is estimated to cost around 500-dollars a year. 

City Administrator John Harrenstein says he’s confident that will not happen.

“The governing agencies that are responsible for this are taking the steps necessary to get it resolved. An interesting complicating factor on this levee issue is that Highway 169 is part of the levee system. So you’ve got MnDOT with the roadway, you’ve got Mankato with the levee system and then you’ve got this area of lower North Mankato that’s also affected.”

MnDOT announced on Monday that it plans to work with both cities this summer to make the levee permanent in the area north of Highway 14.

“In our efforts to ensure that our residents are taken care of, our staff has participated in the planning and the study review process. So, we’re really encouraging Mankato and MnDOT to move that project along to avoid the potential impact.”

The flood of 1993 was the last major event that required action in the vicinity and led to the closure of Highway 169.