Alton deploys new ‘muscle wall’ system to stave off floodwater

ALTON, IL (KPLR) – Alton is used to dealing with floodwater, but Mayor Brant Walker said this year the city is implementing a new system to try and protect the town. And that now that system is really being put the test since city leaders didn’t expect the river to crest quite so high.

"What started off as a moderate to minor flood, we are now in a major flood category, with a crest in Alton at 35 feet," Walker said.

That's 16 feet higher than normal. It's putting a lot of pressure on the new “muscle wall.”

"This product, it does require some sandbagging, but not as much as the old product, so it's more of a self-contained interlocking unit with a wrap on it," he said.

The mayor said it also takes less time to set up and less manpower to maintain, ultimately costing fewer tax dollars while still protecting the downtown area.

"Anything that saves tax dollars is great," said Andy Pfleger a life-long Altonian.

Pfleger said he likes the idea, provided the muscle wall can stem the tide on a long-term basis.

"These restaurants and businesses have to deal with this—it seems like—every year. I feel bad for them," he said.

Officials expect the water to rise more than a foot by midnight Saturday.

"Just kind of hope for the best and do the best with the manpower you have," Walker said.