The people who oversee 64 miles of aging Mississippi River levees in southwestern Illinois have signed off on a $151 million plan to upgrade the barriers perhaps by 2014.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council adopted the proposal Wednesday involving levees in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties.
Officials expect the upgrades to be funded largely by a quarter-cent sales tax.
The plan comes as the Federal Emergency Management Agency prepares new flood-risk maps that many worry could deem their levees functionally useless. That could require thousands of property owners with federally backed mortgages to buy expensive flood insurance.
Information certifying the levees as capable of withstanding the minimum threshold of a 100-year flood is expected to be submitted to federal authorities in 2015.