The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Melting snow serves as a reminder: What if it floods before new levees, flood walls are in place?

In City Hall, Floods, Jim Prosser, Tom Podzimek on February 9, 2009 at 9:46 pm

This week’s snow melt has a lot of water flowing into streams and rivers again, a fact that surely is getting some to wonder what the months ahead might bring.

With a certain queasiness in the air, the City Council on Wednesday evening will discuss ways to install temporary flood control methods should a flood arrive again this year or in the next several years.

Additional temporary protection would buy some time while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes a feasibility study on a new, permanent system of flood control levees and flood walls for the city. The study could take a couple years and it could take eight to 15 years for such a permanent system to be in place.

This week’s council agenda states that the council may take action and purchase an interim flood-control product.

The council first discussed interim flood control at its Dec. 17 meeting with Ken DeKeyser, the city’s storm water management engineer, and city consultant Stanley Consultants Inc., Muscatine, Iowa.

At the December session, the council learned about three products on the market for temporary flood control.

One product, Hesco Barriers, is a plastic lined basket in which sand is loaded.

A second product,  Quick Levee Builder, forces sand into a plastic liner.

A third product, referred to as a tiger dam, is a liner that holds water.

The consultant estimated that it would cost $1.5 million for the Hesco Barriers to protect the downtown, Czech Village, and the Time Check area to 22 feet, which is three feet above what had been the previous record flood level in Cedar Rapids of 19 feet.

The June 2008 flood hit 31.12 feet.

At the December council meeting, council member Tom Podzimek wondered if the ingenuity of some local engineers might lead to another, less costly interim protection system.

Just last week, City Manager Jim Prosser said interim flood control could cost anywhere from nothing – presumably little would be done – to $50 million.

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