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Flood of 2008

East Side Flood Protection

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved permanent flood protection for the east side of the river and is currently working on detailed design work.

The East Side Flood Management System design concept includes 3.15 miles of levees and concrete floodwalls extending from Cedar Lake to the Otis Road SW Cargill plant on the east bank of the Cedar River. When completed, the system will provide flood protection equivalent to the June 2008 flood level (32.4 feet river stage), plus an additional three or four feet for wave action or freeboard.

The design currently includes concrete floodwalls along the east bank from the Quaker Oats plant, through the core downtown area to 8th Avenue SE. Concrete floodwalls are also planned adjacent to the African-American Museum and the Otis Road SE Cargill plant. Removable floodwall sections or gates are planned where the system is crossed by city streets, trails or railroad crossings. In the event of a flood emergency, removable wall sections would be installed by City crews with some private contractor assistance.

During a flood emergency, existing storm sewers that outlet at the Cedar River will be closed off. To remove stormwater trapped in City storm sewers, five permanent pump stations are planned for 1) the east end of the 3rd Avenue Bridge; 2) at 5th Avenue SE (north of the Great America Building); 3) at 10th Avenue SE; 4) at the Sinclair site; and 5) at 16th Avenue SE near the Otis Road SE Cargill plant. In addition, several gatewells are planned on smaller existing storm sewers where portable pumps can be utilized.

The estimated project cost for the East Side Flood Management System is $115.8 million, including construction, contingencies, engineering, administration, property acquisitions and other associated costs. Project costs will be shared by the federal government (65%) and city government (35%). The City of Cedar Rapids has already allocated $4.2 million for this project, $3 million in bond funds and $1.2 million in Local Option Sales Tax revenues, to support the USACE’s design work.

The East Side Flood Protection project plans are 50 percent complete and the USACE expects construction could begin in 2017, depending on funding approval at the federal level, completing remaining design work and acquisition of required right-of-way and easements.

East Side Flood Protection Facts

  • 3.15 miles of levees and concrete floodwalls

  • Removable floodwall gates at streets, trails and railroad crossings

  • Protect up to 32.4 feet river stage, plus three or four feet for wave action

  • 5 permanent pump stations

  • Estimated Cost: $115.8 million

  • Construction may begin in 2017

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