The Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission was right to go against the Army Corps of Engineers' wishes last week in voting for a quick, $100,000 flood control project while waiting for the corps to come up with its own proposal.
The new wall — 4 feet high and made of blocks connected by steel rods — is to be built along 3,000 feet of State Line Avenue between Hammond and Calumet City.
The commission authorized Executive Director Dan Repay to "move ahead with the structural analysis and prepare a bid package."
Corps officials are not happy about this development. Col. Frederic Drummond said it isn't possible to get flood protection done before April.
The Corps of Engineers proposal came with a $1 million price tag — 10 times the cost of the commission's expected solution.
LCRBDC Commissioner Ron McAhron of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources criticized the corps design, saying it is "is full of structural flaws."
The blocks called for in the corps design aren't your typical concrete blocks. Each 4,000-pound block is 4 feet wide, which McAhron said would spill over onto the roadway, forcing some drivers to go onto residents' lawns along State Line Avenue.
The 830 blocks would be put into place when flooding is imminent.
The commission wants permanent protection, though, not large blocks that would be moved into place when a flood is threatened.
It is unfortunate to see the commission and the corps at odds on this aspect of the decades-long project, but time is running short.
Protection can't wait, and the potential for spring floods make building the wall, even if it doesn't meet federal standards, urgent.