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Gov. Stitt, Mayors, Ask Corps of Engineers to Complete Tulsa Levee Study Sooner

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Tulsa County
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Gov. Kevin Stitt is asking top officials at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a study of Tulsa's levees nine months ahead of schedule.

The USACE's evaluation of the Tulsa-West Tulsa Levee System is to be completed by September 2020. Stitt, along with Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Jenks Mayor Robert Lee and Bixby Mayor Brian Guthrie, sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James and Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite asking for that study to be done by the end of 2019.

"This will allow for much needed upgrades to be addressed before the close of the 116th Congress. Any deadline past December runs the risk of delaying the rebuilding and recovery process several years for this vital infrastructure," the letter reads.

The levees were underwater for weeks as northeastern Oklahoma dealt with historic flooding in May and June. Officials noted the levee system protects tens of thousands of people, around $2 billion in infrastructure and two oil refineries.

"The risks are too high for this not to be resolved soon, but there is a clear solution and path forward for expediting upgrades if the Corps will finalize this important report by the end of this year," the letter reads.

During a 1986 flood, the levees held back water for fewer than 24 hours.

In a 2008 assessment, the USACE rated the Tulsa levee system's condition as "unacceptable." The current study was included in the 2018 Water Resources Development Act.