Flood Control System
The Cedar Rapids City Council approved, in September 2014, a program management and engineering contract with HR Green to perform design work on the City’s $570 million flood-protection project.
Since securing this assignment, HR Green has been actively engaged in developing a series of open house and work session events to solicit public input on setting an alignment for the flood control system and associated improvements.
HR Green also worked closely with the City’s Flood Control Systems Committee, City staff, outside agencies as well as organizations involved in the review and permitting process. These efforts culminated in the adoption of the Flood Control System Master Plan – a document that establishes the alignment, implementation plan, budget, and acquisition/disposition policy.
Since the adoption of the Master Plan, HR Green has been focusing on designing select improvements that are consistent with the implementation strategy, with the first two bid packages scheduled to be prepared in February 2016. The overall implementation of this project is scheduled to occur over the next 20 years.
On June 13, 2008, the Cedar River crested to its highest level in Cedar Rapids history, 31.12 feet, far exceeding the previous record of 20 feet. The flood waters penetrated 10 square miles or 14 percent of the City. This monumental flood impacted 5,390 houses and dislocated more than 18,000 residents.
The 7.5 mile flood-protection system balances the priorities of the community to provide better protection, preserve neighborhoods and assets, and maximize open space. HR Green will be responsible for the West Side Flood Mitigation System concept. That plan is anticipated to include a combination of levee and floodwalls which will extend for an estimated 3 miles along the Cedar River. Removable floodwall sections, or gates, are recommended where the system is crossed by active City streets and railroad crossings. Other removable floodwalls could be recommended as more detailed planning unfolds, to allow access to the river.
One section of the West Side Flood Management System is already complete. The levee that supports the new Riverfront Amphitheater at First Street SW, between Third and H Avenues, is an example of how the flood management system will look.
The State of Iowa’s Flood Mitigation Board on December 4, 2013, awarded the City of Cedar Rapids $264 million toward a flood mitigation project to protect both sides of the Cedar River.