June 3, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Officials asking people to stay off Madison County levees
WOOD RIVER — Emergency officials are asking the public to stay off the levees in Madison County.
After meetings between Madison County Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wood River Drainage and Levee District and Metro East Sanitary District all agreed and safety measures were implemented to protect the levee system throughout the county.
“There is no trespassing on the levees,” Tony Falconio, logistics coordinator for Madison County EMA, said.
Local law enforcement, Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois National Guard will be patrolling and monitoring the levee system.
“If you are not authorized to be on the levee system, you will be asked to leave,” Falconio said.
The no trespassing rule applies to all pedestrians, bicyclists and any type of motor vehicle. These steps are being taken as a preventative measure to ensure that the integrity of levee system is maintained.
“Only authorized personnel will be allowed on the levees,” Falconio said. “People will be asked to leave and if they chose not to leave law enforcement will be notified.”
Chairman Kurt Prenzler said he is confident in the county’s levee system.
“The levees are in better shape now than they were in 2016,” Prenzler said.
Prenzler said there has been $100 million in levee improvements during the past decade.
“The levees are performing as designed,” he said.
Prenzler called for the National Guard to make sure the levees remained protected. A detachment of soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 123 Field Artillery Regiment arrived Saturday and by Sunday they were on the levees.
“There are soldiers at various points along the levee keeping an eye on things as well as making sure people stay off the levees,” Prenzler said.
Prenzler approved the use of county funds for increased patrol by Madison County Sheriff deputies to support the effort of the National Guard.
MESD Director Stephen Adler said that he is asking people not to go around barriers to check out the rising river or to even cross to go fishing.
“This is not the time for sightseeing or anything else,” Adler said.
Alton Police Chief Jason Simmons also wants to remind people who are visiting downtown Alton to see the flood to stay clear of the floodwall. There were reports of people climbing on the wall and anyone caught going beyond the yellow caution tape will be arrested for criminal trespassing.
Falconio said to keep the most up-to-date with the county’s EMA they can visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MadCoEMA/. People can also sign up for emergency alerts through the county’s CodeRED system at www.co.madison.il.us/.