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Flood Control System 

Open House on Flood Control Initiatives

More than 100 people attended an open house on January 25, 2018 to learn more about future flood control initiatives. Information was available on the following topics:

  • New Bohemia District / Masaryk Park: Plans are underway to relocate historically important monuments that were previously located near the Sinclair Levee. A future levee is also planned between 12th Avenue and 8th Avenue.
  • North Industrial Alignment: A feasibility study is underway for an optional extension of flood control around Cedar Lake. This would extend the currently proposed flood control from near Quaker Oats / Cargill and tie into higher ground near J Avenue NE and I-380. This option would protect more properties and businesses. The City is still in a period of exploration and research before determining the feasibility of this alternate alignment, and is seeking public input.
  • Greenways: A visionary greenway master plan was completed in 2014 which included concept drawings of the Time Check, Downtown Riverfront and Czech Village Greenways. The Czech Village Greenway plan was developed with public input from the Greenway Parks Planning process and was on display for public review.
View the Open House Material

Leave feedback: floodcontrol@cedar-rapids.org 

What is the Cedar River Flood Control System?

The Flood Control System will be designed to convey the same water volume as the flood of 2008, reducing flood risk through the heart of Cedar Rapids on both the west and east sides of the river. The system will include a combination of floodwalls, levees and gates, and incorporate aesthetic elements that reflect our community’s culture, history, and vision.

City Council formally adopted the Cedar River Flood Control System Master Plan on June 23, 2015. The master plan is a long-term plan that will provide direction for the implementation and construction of the flood control system, and has been developed to protect as many flood-vulnerable properties as possible.

Fast Facts

  • Designed to convey the same water volume as the flood of 2008
  • Approximately 7 miles long
  • Protects both sides of the river
  • Combination of permanent floodwalls, removable walls, levees and gates (approximately 20 percent removable walls)
  • Incorporates aesthetic elements that reflect culture and history of the community 
  • Includes pump stations and detention basins to protect against rain water flooding as pipes close to protect against river.

Current Initiatives

Czech Village Levee - Underway 

  • Utility Relocations: Complete
  • Levee Construction: 2018 -- 2020
  • 2018-2019: From Solid Waste Agency to Bowling Street
  • 2019-2020: From Bowling Street to 16th Avenue 
  • First permanent flood control on the west side of the river since the adoption of the master plan
  • Levee will be approximately half a mile long
  • Will provide immediate protection of a river surge up to 19.5 feet
  • Upon the completion of the entire Flood Control System, levee will protect to 2008 volume.
  • Funding made possible through State Flood Hazard Mitigation Program

Time Check Neighborhood 2008 Flood Memorial - Underway 
As work continues on the permanent system for both sides of the river, efforts are underway to memorialize and pay homage to the history and resiliency of the Time Check neighborhood. 

Concepts included: 

  • Gateway to the River Memorial Plaza: Situated along O Avenue, the memorial plaza will provide a moment of transition from a reemerging neighborhood to the recreational green spaces adjacent to the Cedar River. 
  • West Side Rising Sculpture: The West Side Rising Sculpture will be an element in the plaza – a tribute to the neighborhoods’ recovery and persistence. A private group has been leading the sculpture design and fundraising campaign.
  • View the open house material
  • Leave feedback: email floodcontrol@cedar-rapids.org

Lot 44 Pump Station - Underway Rendering of brick pump house

  • Construction: 2016 – Spring 2018
  • Lot 44 sits along the river between 8th and 12th Avenues in the NewBo District. 
  • Pumping capacity: 12,000 gallons per minute at opening, with expansion capacity
  • Aesthetics designed to complement neighboring NewBo District
  • Includes gate that prevents the river backing up through storm sewers
  • Protects community from rain inundation - pumps rainwater back into the Cedar River

NewBo/Masaryk Park Monument Relocations - UnderwayMasaryk Park monument rendering

  • Relocate and highlight the historically and culturally important markers that were previously located at Masaryk Park, where the new Sinclair Levee and trail project have been completed.
  • These markers will be placed at various locations near the Cedar River’s edge or along the levee trail on the river’s east side.
  • Public input ongoing

Sinclair Protection 
Sinclair Levee

  • Stretches from the African-American Museum to Alliant Substation
  • Just under half a mile
  • 13 - 23 ft. tall on average; 130 ft. at its widest
  • Designed for 2008 flood and provides immediate protection to 20 ft. river crest
  • Includes a 12 ft. wide concrete bike and pedestrian trail
  • Includes walls next to 16th Ave. for a future gateSinclair Detention Basin
  • Items to finish: trail head

  • Construction: 2016 – 2017, grading/aesthetics 2018 
  • 4.4 acres, used to store excess rain water until it can be safely pumped back into the river
  • Can safely store rainwater up to 4 feet deep
  • Items to finish: snow storage area
Sinclair Pump Station
  • Sized for 3 pumps
  • Capacity of 2,500 gallons per minute at opening, with expansion capability
  • Used when underground flood gates are closed and rain water needs to be pumped back into the river

Rendering of CRST riverwalk

  • Provides a pedestrian walkway along the Cedar River between 2nd and 3rd Avenues

Future initiatives:

Quaker Oats Flood Wall Rendering of Quaker Oats flood wall
On March 27, the City Council awarded the second major construction contract ($14.2 million) for the  Quaker Oats flood control project. This is a major step for flood protection, not only in that it represents the most ambitious project to date, but also in that it represents the start of permanent flood protection for the Downtown by cutting off flood waters from the Cedar Lake area.

  • Bid opening: February 7, 2018 
  • Construction: August 2018 - 2021
  • Construction Cost: $17 million
  • Features: 2,100 linear feet of permanent flood wall
  • Will ultimately protect to the 2008 flood volume. 
  • Includes pump station upgrades, water transmission main relocation, and railroad closure gate

8th Avenue Bridge Replacement

Raising/replacing the 80-year-old 8th Avenue Bridge will preserve a heavily travelled connection between both sides of the river in the case of significant flood events. 

Goals of the project include:

  • Provide an additional emergency route across the river to improve flood fighting and other emergency response
  • Maintain access to hospitals, the police department, and I-380 interchange
  • Reduce congestion and improve safety on the interstate during a flood
  • Save money by eliminating the need to build flood protection around an existing bridge, including closure gates 

In addition to the replacement of the bridge, other improvements are planned between the amphitheater and the 8th Avenue Bridge over the next several years, including the addition of permanent restroom facilities, which are expected to begin design in late 2018.  These improvements will support and benefit the continued growth of the Kingston Village District. 

Preliminary schedule of bridge replacement:

  • Utility relocations: 2019 - 2021
  • Bridge construction: 2022+
Learn More:

Pump Station Development

Plans are underway to incorporate a pump station into the proposed floodwall at the northwest corner of the 8th Avenue Bridge, near Sunner Park. Public input is being sought to identify expansion opportunities of this pump station, enabling the building to be multi-purposed and serve the community year round.

Examples of proposed development ideas include providing additional public park space and amenities, along with possible retail, restaurant or recreation uses. The 8th Avenue Bridge will have enhanced bike and pedestrian accommodations, which will better connect the NewBo and Kingston Village neighborhoods.

Reducing Our Flood Risk
Since 2008, the City has significantly reduced its flood risk. A history of risk reduction efforts includes

  • Developed interim flood control plan
  • Removed 1,300+ properties from the flood zone
  • Adopted new flood insurance rate maps
  • Updated Floodplain Management Ordinance
  • Secured GRI state funding of $267M
  • Improved sanitary sewers and raised the City’s wells
  • Upgraded and protected the Water Pollution Control Facility
  • Completed interim levee repairs
  • Raised buildings flooded in 2008
  • Raised two bridges over Prairie Creek
  • Designed and constructed the McGrath Amphitheatre levee
  • Designed the CRST building to include a flood wall
  • Completed improvements to the sanitary sewer system and watershed management practices.
  • Sanitary sewer and watershed management improvements (ongoing) 

At a Glance: Flood Control System Plan 

Plan Includes:

  • Alignment – where the walls, levees, gates, and floodwalls will go on both sides of the river
  • Implementation – what should be built first, and how 
  • Property acquisition and disposition – providing as much flexibility as possible for property owners
  • Budget – what it will cost and the funding sources
  • Aesthetics – how will it look and blend into the community
  • Communication and public outreach – keeping the community, legislatures, and public officials informed.

Total cost estimate is approximately $750 million (over 20 years)

  • 2/3 construction
  • 1/3 design, permitting, and other pre-construction services

Funding is combination of Federal, State, and City dollars (estimates based on 2015 dollars)

  • $78M Federal Army Corps funding (approved, but not yet appropriated)
  • $267M State GRI funding 
  • $110M City Match
  • $12.5M Federal CDBG Disaster Recovery Grant
  • $1.7M Federal Economic Development Administration 

View the master plan in its entirety: Flood Control System Master Plan (updated 8-9-16) 

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