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Army Corp To Lay 1,000-Acres Of Protective Concrete

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Oct 2012 03:45pm | comments
Mat Sinking Unit

The low river level along the Mississippi River is giving the Army Corp of Engineers two additional months to repair and shore up the levees. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports a one-of-a-kind machine is laying protective concrete squares called mats.

The army Corps is planning to lay 1-thousand acres, or 43-million square feet, of concrete mats to protect vulnerable areas of the levee system.

Kavanaugh Breazeale with the Army Corp says the mats are interlocking concrete squares that prevent the river from eroding the earthen levees and control the channel.

"They lay the concrete mats along the banks of the Mississippi river to help with erosion and to kind of keep the river in check, so to speak. You can never tame her but you can kind of keep her going how you want her to go so you can keep the channel just right for the barge traffic," Breazeale said.

The machine, known as a mat sinking unit, is a collection of boats that work together to roll out the thousands of feet of of concrete.

The low river is letting crews work two months more than a normal year.

Breazeale says the additional time also gives the Army Corp a chance to repair damage caused by last year's historic flood.

"The flood did bring a higher than usual amount of damage to the banks along the Mississippi River. So this also gives us a chance to address those damages and rectify what had been done in those certain areas," Breazeale said.

The mat sinking unit is the only one of its kind in the world and is currently operating near Mayersville.

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Mat Sinking Unit


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