With the help of two U.C congressmen, a long awaited project to rebuild the levees that protect homes along the Feather River ceremonially kicked off on Wednesday morning in Yuba City.
The project is meant to keep the Feather River from flooding into cities that are vulnerable during storms.
It was full house for the kick off of the Feather River West Levee Project. One that will rebuild a 44-mile levee that stretches from Yuba City all the way up to Biggs.
“This is the first link in a very important chain for flood control for our region here,” said U.S Congressman Doug LaMalfa.
LaMalfa, a Republican, joined democratic congressman John Garamendi in a bipartisan effort to fast track the project.
“Our constituents expect us to get the job done," said LaMalfa. "I and Mr. Garamendi were able to team up and broaden the Army Corps of Engineers making sure we stay on a timeline here."
Garamendi agreed, adding that the two are sharing the responsibility in ensuring that the projects move forward.
The project will include a new trench along the levee to prevent any erosion from happening. The part of the levee in Yuba City next to the Shanghai Bend has already failed twice, costing 38 people their lives. The last time it failed was back in 1955.
“You can't fix one place because it's like a chain you may have a weak link some place,” said Francis Silva.
Silva was one of the many people who were affected by the flooding decades ago.
“I had just built a new house. I moved in August and moved out Christmas Eve when it broke,” said Silva.
He and many other people in Butte and Sutter counties never want that to happen again, which is why residents in both counties voted yes on Prop 1E, taxing themselves to help raise money to fix the levees.
“The people in this area ponied up the money to get this project done. Where's the federal money? We got to bring that here,” said Garamendi.
“Hey it's a good day for actually getting the job done. We'll be excited to see equipment running instead of paperwork,” said LaMalfa.
The project will cost around $270 million and there is no word yet on when construction will start in Butte County.
Both LaMalfa and Garamendi will also start looking at a similar project on the Sacramento River near Hamilton City.