Indiana officials, Army Corps testing Clarksville soil for perma - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Indiana officials, Army Corps testing Clarksville soil for permanent erosion fix

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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- History is being threatened on the banks of the Ohio River because of erosion, and now the federal government is getting more involved to see if it can be stopped.

Erosion has been a major issue for decades, even more so after the McAlpine Locks and Dam were installed. Now, the town of Clarksville is hopeful it will soon find a more permanent fix.

Clarksville Town Council President Paul Fetter wants to preserve what's left of the land. An area he says has lost nearly 20 acres since the 1970s.

"If we do not do something to stem the erosion control, we know that we're going lose about 10 more acres in the next nine years," said Fetter.

That's why the town and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are trying to find a solution.

They're drilling at different locations testing the dirt's strength and water content and also looking at the speed and flow of the river.

"Until something is done to stem the tide from running into the banks, the erosion control is gonna continue,” said Fetter, “so hopefully the Corps of Engineers is gonna come up with a solution to stop the erosion."

Clarksville has spent more than $300,000 in the last 10 years on what have been temporary fixes. Those include soil nailings to stabilize the bank and repaving Emory Crossing following a collapse.

Town Project Coordinator Brittany Montgomery wants to preserve the area's history.

"This is where the Northwest Territory started,” said Montgomery. “We're standing on ground and we've lost ground where George Rogers Clark settled the area. Lewis and Clark left in an area that was washed out on the river 10 years ago or more."

The bridge has had several issues in the past as well.

Montgomery says Emory Crossing has already been moved several times and if it has to be pushed back even more, it'll end up in the wetlands, meaning the road could be shut down for good.

"We don't know how long the stabilization work we've done is gonna last," said Montgomery.

Montgomery says after the data comes back, a long term fix could include an underground wall to divert the water away from the banks.

The Army Corps says it expects the full results of the soil and water samples by the end of the summer and it says if extra funding is needed, it will go to Congress.

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