Molinas Completes Walla Walla Mill Creek Levee Phase I


Rain, snow or shine, 6 acres of woody vegetation removed

                                        December 31, 2015                

WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Today, Molinas Construction Company has completed a monumental task on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mill Creek Levee Project, Phase I. The Molinas team successfully and safely cleared 6 acres of woody vegetation from the landward side of the levees on a 5,000-foot section of the Walla Walla flood-control structure. Restoring the federally managed section of the Mill Creek Levee System to meet national safety standards was conducted in two phases, southside and northside, and through the process, the team discovered abandoned utilities, including culverts and concrete debris, from generations past. In total, the scope of work included the removal of several hundred cottonwood and locust trees, and dense vegetation material.

According to the Army Corps press release:

First, encroaching vegetation will be removed from the surface of the levee slopes and 15-feet outward from the levee’s design toe; work will be conducted outside of bird-nesting season.

The "Mill Creek levee work", as it was coined by the Union-Bulletin, began the first week of October and took approximately 90-days to complete, bracing summer, rainfall and the snowy winter. The project was designed to further prevent root damage to the levee as well as make it easier to inspect for signs of degradation.

Molinas began preparations in summer 2015 by completing an extensive preconstruction effort to determine the most efficient way to cut down old growth trees, many hallow or rotted, while keeping the public safe, roadway intact and levee structure integrity. With a plan in place, our Walla Walla team worked around the clock to move heavy equipment, including Kobelco excavators, John Deer Skid Steers, dump trucks, end dumps, lift buckets, and chain saws equipped with carbide chains to remove overgrown vegetation which through the years encroached into the levee’s maintenance zone.

According to the Army Corps press release:

This maintenance is necessary to meet National Levee Safety Program requirements in accordance with Corps headquarters regulations and policies. Non-compliant vegetation on levees blocks visibility for inspections, access for maintenance, hinders flood fighting, and adds uncertainty to structural performance and reliability, which increases risk to the public. The inability to inspect, maintain or flood fight could delay emergency response or contribute to risk of levee failure. Life safety is paramount for the Corps’ operations.

It was an honor and real privilege to venture east. Together, we are helping ensure public safety and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can fulfill it's mission.

Location: Walla Walla, WA

Client: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District

Year Completed: 2015