Pipe Maze Part Of Airport Flood Control

OMAHA, Neb. --

There are new developments now in the battle to keep Eppley Airfield running strong amid the flood concerns.

Leaders are closing part of Lindbergh Drive which is located on the eastern side of the facility in order to make room for a new flood-control infrastructure. This road closure will not affect passenger traffic to Eppley's terminals. Business and general aviation travelers will still have access to the east side of the airport.

In an effort to lower the water table, crews have been running pipes from wells on the airport property and over the roads.

When it comes to the war on water, Eppley Airfield said it's winning. Leaders said contractors' effort to build 70 wells is near completion, and it has already been successful in draining pools of standing water.

Steve Coufal, executive director of the Omaha Airport Authority, noticed the reduction in water levels between two and seven feet.

The new system is creating a maze of pipes on the east and north side of the property. Crews are building at least six ramps where the pipes will cross Lindbergh Drive and then go up the levee to dump all the water back into the river.

The ramps should be complete in about 10 days. The north end of Lindbergh Drive is now closed to make way for construction equipment.

"We'll build a road over the top. We will have normal access to the east side of the airport," said Dave Roth, planning and engineering director at the airport.

The wells not only drain standing water, but they prevent other problems as well. Eppley leaders have identified 81 problem areas where the ground has settled around the airport. So far, 35 of them have been fixed.

Meanwhile other flood-control measures have proven to be successful. Guard personnel continue to monitor the levees nearby and thousands of sandbags have been placed around the airport property. Officials are confident that they're one step ahead of the flood.

"I will tell you bringing in the contractors and being proactive has been one of the best moves we have ever made," Coufal said.

Amid all of the flood control efforts, Eppley has reached a milestone. After months of work on its taxiway areas, runway 36-18, which gives access to all three of the runways at the airport, has just reopened.

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