Home > News List > Landmark Achievement: Cedar Rapids Secures $56.4 Million Federal Grant for Arc of Justice Bridge, Enhancing Flood Resilience

Landmark Achievement: Cedar Rapids Secures $56.4 Million Federal Grant for Arc of Justice Bridge, Enhancing Flood Resilience

Landmark Achievement: Cedar Rapids Secures $56.4 Million Federal Grant for Arc of Justice Bridge, Enhancing Flood Resilience

April 5, 2024

Years of hard work and perseverance paid off today, as the City of Cedar Rapids learned it earned $56.4 Million in Federal funding for the 8th Avenue Arc of Justice Bridge Replacement Project. The funding will support the replacement of the 8th Avenue Bridge over the Cedar River as part of the City’s Flood Control System.

The U.S. Department of Transportation made notice of the grant award on Friday, April 5, as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary Grant Program.

“This project holds significance for the entire community. I am incredibly proud of the team effort. Our perseverance has paid off,” said City Manager Jeff Pomeranz. “This Federal funding award is an acknowledgement of the importance of the Flood Control System in Cedar Rapids and the effectiveness of the City’s approach.”

The City's success in earning this grant award underscores years of dedicated efforts by the City team to secure funding for the project. This marks the fifth application for Federal funding for the bridge replacement, following applications to the Bridge Improvement grant, two RAISE grants, the PROTECT Grant, and the BUILD grant. Each received a "highly recommend" or "recommend" score, yet faced competition in highly competitive and oversubscribed Federal funding programs.

The City acknowledges the work of many over the years to advance funding for this project, including Senator Joni Ernst, Senator Charles Grassley, Representative Ashley Hinson, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Biden Administration, past and present Cedar Rapids City Council members, City lobbyists and grant writers, and the many businesses, residents, and community partners who demonstrated their support for the project and have served as a voice on the need for funding.

“This award is a testament to the power of nonpartisan collaboration and a longstanding commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse population,” said Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell. “As severe weather events intensify, the Arc of Justice Bridge will stand as a symbol of our work to shape a future where every community member can thrive.”

The Arc of Justice bridge incorporates several key features to ensure durability and accessibility during times of flooding. Elevated 15 feet above the existing 8th Avenue Bridge, it will remain open during flood conditions, providing an important route for Flood Control System deployment. The bridge will sit above the 2008 volume and require fewer piers in the river. The project includes streetscaping, lighting, four traffic lanes, two shared-use paths/bike trails (one on each side), and connections to the Cedar River Trail. This resilient route will ensure crucial transportation and emergency medical access is maintained during flooding.

The project became eligible for Iowa Flood Mitigation funds in 2016. Design began in 2018, following an extensive community-input process, where hundreds of Cedar Rapids residents weighed in on options. The design of the Arc of Justice Bridge matches the community’s selection through that process.

The project is approximately 30% designed. The City has been actively updating environmental clearance documents in preparation for construction. The funding will accelerate remaining design work. The PROTECT grant is an 80% Federal grant with a 20% Local match. The City requested grant funding covering the available 80% of project costs, totaling $56.4 million — earning the full amount requested in the grant application. The remaining 20% will be funded by General Obligation Bonds and Iowa Flood Mitigation funds. The City also earned a $1 Million grant from the Iowa DOT’s City Bridge Program for use toward the bridge.

Construction is set to start in 2027, with an estimated three-year working window. Construction work will be coordinated with the existing West Side Flood Control System as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ East Side project. The East Side project is expected to finish construction in 2026. As a critical component in operating and maintaining the Flood Control System, the bridge's completion is necessary for final certification of the East Side Flood Control System.

Several flood control projects are complete with several more underway. There is still a need for funding to complete the entire permanent Cedar River Flood Control System. For more detailed information on the system, visit CityofCR.com/FloodControl.

Rendering of a cable-stayed bridge over a river with the Cedar Rapids skyline in the background.

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