Four-wheeling damaging Middlesboro levee

By Angela Sparkman | 

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials say ATVs and other vehicles are damaging the Middlesboro levee.

They are increasing patrols in the area and some could even face charges.

No trespassing signs are up at the levee in Middlesboro, but people who live nearby say ATV riders are ignoring the signs and riding on the property.

"Yeah, I saw a couple of people a couple of days ago and I saw more last night come through here," said Matthew Hall.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the four-wheeling is cutting ruts into the levee and damaging the structure.
The Middlesboro mayor says the ruts are weakening the levee, which if it continues, could be dangerous in flooding.

"Yeah, it worries me, people doing that," said Hall.

"It is something that was put in many years ago. That has been a great value to the city of Middlesboro. We need to protect it. That is property that is private and should not be used for recreational use," said Mayor Bill Kelley.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rangers are increasing patrols in the area to stop four-wheeling.

Officials say people caught four-wheeling on it could face federal charges. The Mayor says city council and the city attorney are also looking at punishment for violators.
"We're actually looking at stiffer penalties and trying to work with the courts," said Mayor Kelley.

The mayor says it is needed to prevent future damage to the levee.

Anyone who sees people riding on the levee is asked to report it to Middlesboro Police or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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