A dike that's over 100 years old in Washington state urgently needs repairs, or thousands of people could be at risk of flooding, officials warn.
KOMO says town leaders are sounding the alarm over the dike in Snohomish County, which is keeping water from Skagit Bay from flooding the city of Stanwood and a road connecting the mainland to Camano Island.
“Got the call from our city administrator that the dike had failed. He used the words, ‘it's a big deal,’" Stanwood Mayor Sid Roberts told reporters. "Honestly, a lot of the citizens of Stanwood are unaware and I think one of the things we're trying to do is sound the alarm."
Local officials started getting worried about the tall wall of dirt when it had a partial failure last winter. Tyler Breum, a former commissioner of the local dike and drainage district, says 2,000 to 3,000 people could be affected if the dike breaks down.
“We’d be under 4 or 5 feet of water for four to six hours a day without that levee,” Breum explains. “That’s what’s allowing life down here in the flood plain to occur. It’s salt water so it would affect the farmlands for generations.”
One of the obstacles to the much-needed upgrades is money.
"The new cost design estimates, puts it right around $6 or $7 million (and) we're going to run well short on funding," Breum told KOMO. "There's about around $2 million that's already received in grant funds. We're applying literally and asking everyone. It would include the state (and) the county."
Roberts believes the price tag is worth it.
“Sounds like a lot of money, but in terms of the tradeoff of what you get out of it, it's I think a pretty cheap fix," Roberts says. "Prevention is certainly cheaper than a catastrophic event."
If permits are submitted before the end of the year, construction could start in summer 2023, according to reporters. You can read more about this HERE.