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City of Manhattan News

Posted on: January 20, 2022

Construction of Manhattan levee upgrades set to begin


(MANHATTAN, KS - January 20, 2022) Construction upgrades for the Manhattan levee will begin in the coming weeks of January 2022. The project, administered by the The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), will substantially enhance the reliability and structural integrity of the Manhattan Levee system. In September, 2021, USACE selected ESI Contracting to manage the project.

The total construction cost of the base project is $19.1 million, of which the federal government is paying 65 percent and the city is paying 35 percent.  An additional $10.5 million in related levee betterments and essential maintenance costs are also included in the contract and will be fully-funded by the City.

 “The project will increase the reliability of the levee system to protect our only water and wastewater treatment plant facilities. These facilities not only service the City of Manhattan but many other customers in Riley and Pottawatomie Counties,” said Rob Ott, Public Works Director for the City of Manhattan. "This overall project will greatly improve the level of protection for future events that would threaten Manhattan."

The Manhattan levee system provides fortification to protect 1,600 acres of land, approximately 7,600 residents, and a total economic impact estimated at $1.2 billion.

This project includes raises the levee along the Big Blue River from the intersection of Casement Road and Hayes Drive, south to the confluence of the Kansas River and Big Blue River, and wrapping around upstream to just west of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) facility. The project also includes new relief wells and earthen berms to protect the levee against undermining, and strengthening of many of the gate structures that control water flows out of the City. 

Construction for the entire project is estimated to last just over 30 months and be completed by mid to late 2024. Access to Linear Trail will be closed for most of the construction period, with specific closures to be announced as they are required.  The Linear Trail system will be restored and reopened at the completion of the project. Once the project is completed, maintenance of the Manhattan Levee System will be turned back over to the City of Manhattan. 

Residents with questions about the project can contact Bill Heatherman, City of Manhattan Public Works, 785-587-4578 or by email

More information about the City of Manhattan is available online at, on Facebook at /Cityofmanhattan and on Twitter @cityofmhk.


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