Clarksville reaches out to Army Corps for help with erosion alon - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clarksville reaches out to Army Corps for help with erosion along Ohio River

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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Parts of Clarksville are falling into the Ohio River and town leaders are urging the federal government to help them shore up their banks.

Erosion has been a problem along the Ohio River for more than 30 years, but the town says if something is not done soon history will likely wash away.

“We're losing a lot of artifacts," said town council president Bob Polston who grew up in Clarksville.

"I used to come down here to fish,” he said. “You'd be surprised how much we've lost since I was a young boy."

Polston says in order to preserve the area the banks need to be stabilized. "This was George Rogers Clark's home place right up the hill, and they've moved it once and they're afraid they'll have to move it again."

He is afraid because the erosion is nearly a mile long. It's been a problem since the early 70s and the McAlpine Locks are making things worse.

"But because of the way the locks are positioned it's causing it, the erosion to happen a lot faster," said Clarksville Government Resources Coordinator Scott Johnson.

The issue is just another reason the town reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers.

"That's a big problem and it's going take a big fix," said Roger Setters who's helping the Corps with it's study.

He's trying to work with the agency to figure out where the problem lies and how to fix it.

“That soil reaches the condition where it's ready to go and when it does then a slice of the bank goes away,” said Setters. “It just keeps eating away at that bank until it finally gets to the point where you say, ‘you can't drive on that road for a while until we fix that.'"

Part of a road near the river gave way in 2004. A year later, the Corps stabilized the shoreline but part of the rebuilt bridge already has separation cracks, some nearly two inches wide.

The bridge is not the only erosion issue. Take for instance an area that used to be a parking lot right next to the river. The town says, because of the bad erosion underneath the pavement, if something is not done soon it will end up in the Ohio River.

If the erosion continues the shoreline could stretch back several hundred feet by 2025.

"Is this going to fall into the river tomorrow, of course not, could it fall in the river in the next 10 years? Who knows, maybe," said Setters.

After this initial study is complete the Corps will be sending its information on to Congress in hopes of getting some federal funding within the next couple years.

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