MILTON, W.Va. — Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington Office have said they are working to complete a study phase for the Milton Floodwall project before any ground can be broken.

The near $140 million project is a flood-risk management project for the Cabell County city that will drastically increase its floodplain.

“We’ve gone through several layers of review and we have one more as we complete the study phase,” Christy Stefanides, Senior Planner for the Project, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told MetroNews.

“That is detailing the high level of the project and the benefits as well as the effects on the human environment.”

Brian Lowe, the Project Manager for the floodwall with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the study is expected to be done at the end of this calendar year.

He added that construction will be four seasons once the studies are done with work projected to begin in the Summer of 2021 and end at the completion of the calendar year in 2024.

“Currently the state is working with the Corps of Engineers to finalize the agreements that would be required to move forward with implementation of the project,” Lowe said.

“We are completing the study phase of the project right now and we have resumed detail design activities.”

Lowe said the current study designs are recommending an earthen levee to be 8,300 linear feet with the majority of the alignment north of the Mud River. He said a portion of the alignment would require relocation of the reach of the river for approximately 4,000 feet.

Two pump stations and one gate closure across a public road is expected with the project that the state has secured $8 million for.

Lowe said election officials such as Delegate Daniel Linville (R-Cabell, 16) could not have been more helpful in getting funding secured through the state.

Corps officials said the non-federal sponsors of the project like the city and state will be responsible for 35-percent of the total cost, a match from the 65-percent from federal funding.

$96.2 million in federal funding was allocated for the Mud River wall in a 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act, according to Lowe.

The West Virginia Conservation Agency is working with the Corps to provide funding towards the completion of the feasibility study as well as money for detail design efforts.

“This is a try to reduce risks associated with flooding that may impact health, public safety, and economic loss,” Lowe said.

Lowe added the citizens in Milton could not be more welcome of this project looking back at the city’s flood history.

With the wall, the city’s 27-year floodplain will be now 250 years.

In March 1997, Milton suffered its last ‘flood of record’ which caused damage to residences, businesses, schools, and public buildings that totaled $42 million in today’s dollars.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington Office is planning to hold open house meetings with the citizens of Milton in the fall months of this calendar year as it finished up the study phase and heads closer to construction.