Oct 11, 2019

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Flood Gate Project to Begin

Iowa officials gathered with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leaders and members of the state’s congressional delegation for a ceremony of a new flood gate to protect part of downtown from Cedar River flooding.

New Cedar Rapids, Iowa, flood gate project to protect part of downtown from Cedar River flooding.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has begun its flood gate project to protect part of downtown from Cedar River flooding when the water rises, which is becoming more frequent.

The 4-foot thick,14-feet tall and 67-feet long floodgate will hide behind a flood wall when not in use, the Gazette reported. It can be rolled into place within about 30 minutes to protect the New Bohemia business district when the river rises, which suffered through the Great Flood of June 2008.

This flood dislocated more than 18,000 residents and damaged 310 city facilities, according to the city’s website.

A contract to complete the $2.4 million segment was signed last week with General Constructors of Bettendorf, according to Jason Smith, a program manager with the Army Corps, Rock Island office, according to the Gazette. Before construction can begin, the contractor must complete “safety submittals” over the next several months. 

The city has been slowly assembling a flood control system through local and state support and smaller federal grants, despite being told that building a flood control system was a lost cause. 

“We never gave up,” said Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz. “After the flood, we had a lot of ups and downs, and I personally was involved in a number of discussions with federal officials that we were not going to get flood protection. That wasn’t our senator or congressman. That was the Corps of Engineers and the administration at that time.”

Multiple projects will be going on simultaneously as the Army Corps looks to complete the east side system, which protects businesses, residents and public buildings from near Cedar Lake to the New Bohemia District, by January 2023.

The east side system is being supported by $117 million of federal aid, of which $41 million must be repaid by Cedar Rapids, said Gen. Chuck Grassley in an emailed statement. 

The Gazette reported that the city has been assembling this flood control system over time through local and state support and smaller grants. 

“This is an exact demonstration of what happens when the federal government and its partners can work together for the betterment of a community,” said U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst in thanking the Corps, reported the Gazette. “You did not give up, you gave us every opportunity to visit with you with your staff.”

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