US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

Slope Failure Design Deficiency, Loyall, KY

FACT SHEET (As of May 2018)

Published May 1, 2018

 Slope Failure Design Deficiency, Loyall, KY


AUTHORIZATION: Section 202 of Public Law 96-367, of 1 October 1980

TYPE OF PROJECT: Design Deficiency

LOCATION: Upper Cumberland River, City of Loyall, Harlan County, KY

CONGRESSIONAL INTEREST: Rogers (KY-05), McConnell (KY), Paul (KY)

NON-FEDERAL SPONSOR: Harlan County, Kentucky

BACKGROUND: The diversion channel, earthen embankments, floodwall, and closure structures near Loyall, KY were constructed as part of the Upper Cumberland River Basin, Harlan Project Phase 3, Loyall Diversion Channel Project. These construction efforts were the final phase of the project, and completed in 1999. The project was constructed to divert the potentially damaging Cumberland River flows from the city center in Loyall, Kentucky, and also provide protection to Rio Vista. The federal government paid 100 percent of the total project cost.

A slope failure threatening the Wix Howard Cemetery, located immediately adjacent to the federal project diversion channel was first observed in February 2016 after several months of significant rainfall. During a periodic inspection of the Loyall and Rio Vista Levee in July 2016, it was observed that the ground movement at the grave sites of Revolutionary War soldier Samuel Howard and family had created a drop in the ground surface. The footstones for the graves were close to this drop. In September 2016. USACE Headquarters made the determination that the failure was the result of a design deficiency and directed the Nashville District to “proceed with a cost effective and prudent corrective action under existing authority”.


The slope failure was jeopardizing over 60 graves in the Wix Howard Cemetery. These graves were relocated as part of this project to a nearby cemetery in March 2018. The slide material entering the diversion channel has the potential to reduce the flood capacity.

STATUS: All graves in danger of succumbing to the slide have been relocated. The decision document and slope failure design are undergoing reviews.



Total Estimated Cost


Federal Cost Estimate


Non-Federal Cost Estimate




Federal Funds Data


Allocation thru FY 2018


Allocation for FY 2019


Balance to Complete



FY2017 Completed Work: Emergency grave relocations and design of slide repair.

FY2018 Scheduled Work: Additional grave relocations and, decision document approval, and complete design of slide repair.

Completion: Construction Contract to be awarded Spring 2019.


For more information regarding the Loyall, KY slope failure, contact Dana Sexton, CELRN-PMP, phone: (615) 736-7162, email: