Local leaders and elected officials toured the proposed location of the North Shore Levee on Tuesday. Hoquiam Mayor Jasmine Dickhoff said on CoffeeTalk earlier that morning, “I am going to be taking a tour with Brian Shay our City Administrator, Mayor [Erik] Larson, Mr. [Kris] Koski from Aberdeen and a couple of other people with the Chehalis Basin Flood Authority and other entities that are looking at taking this on to ask for funding at the state legislature to complete this.”

Completion is still years away, but the finished product will be a FEMA-accredited levee on the north side of the Grays Harbor Estuary between the Wishkah River in Aberdeen and the Hoquiam River in Hoquiam.

Engineer with the City of Aberdeen, Kris Koski said the construction of 5.6 miles of levees and flood walls will protect large portions of the cities from coastal floods and will remove protected areas from FEMA’s mapped Special Flood Hazard Area, eliminating expensive, mandatory, flood insurance and development regulations for around 3,100 properties.

The preliminary design and analyses phase has been completed, and FEMA issued a Conditional Letter of Map Revision last October, which means that they agree with the plans and would recognize the benefits if the levee is built to specifications. The final design phase is fully funded and in progress to get the project shovel-ready by mid 2019.

The state has invested $5.6 million in planning, design, and permitting of the project, which is expected to cost an estimated $78 million to build.

The project also includes major upgrades to storm drainage piping and pumping systems. It has seen broad support from community, governments, and agencies, and Kosi said it is a major component of the Chehalis Basin Strategy.