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Cedar River, Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- Flood Risk Management

Published March 10, 2020

Cedar River, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In June 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids (City), Iowa, was devastated by a flood of record proportions. More than 1,300 city blocks of the City were flooded. The floodwaters covered 10 square miles and caused an estimated $2.4 billion in damages. 
On April 5, 2006, Congress authorized a feasibility study. The Feasibility Cost Share Agreement was signed on May 30, 2008. The damaged property inventory for this Feasibility Study counted 7,846 properties damaged by the flood. This included 6,865 residential properties, 754 commercial/industrial properties and 227 public properties. The damaged public properties included the City Water Pollution Control Facility, police station, potable water wells, wastewater collection system, City Hall, Linn County Correctional Center, and Linn County Courthouse, along with many other critical infrastructure elements. 

The Feasibility Report presented several alternatives as Flood Risk Management strategies of which one was recommended as the National Economic Development (NED) Plan - Alternative 4-C. Alternative 4-C provides protection along the east bank of the Cedar River. It includes earthen levees, floodwalls, and closure structures for a total length of 3.15 miles. This alternative has a benefit to cost ratio (BCR) of 1.2. The City of Cedar Rapids endorsed the implementation of Alternative 4-C as part of a comprehensive FRM plan for both river banks. 

The Chief's Report was signed on January 27th, 2011 and transmitted to OMB and Congress. 

A Design Agreement (DA) was executed on December 21, 2010 and pre-construction engineering and design (PED) began. 

The project was authorized for construction in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014.
The project was appropriated funding for construction in the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 155-123), also known as Long-term Disaster Recovery Supplemental Funding.  
The City and the Corps executed a Design Agreement Amendment to allow the provision of accelerated non-Federal funding to further the PED phase. The City has sent the Corps their entire proportionate share of estimated PED costs ($3.1M cash). The City and Corps have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining work that City may design and construct as Work-In-Kind which is permitted in the DA. Pre-construction Engineering and Design phase are approximately 35% complete.

Project was authorized for construction in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014. The project received construction funding on August 1, 2018. This funding is to be used to complete design and construct the entirety of the east side flood protection. 

In 2018 and 2019 the team advanced design on all elements of the flood risk management system. In October 2019, the first federal construction contract was 

awarded. Design work has continued into FY2020 with several elements nearing design completion. 

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost  $76,362,000
Estimated Non-Federal Cost $41,118,000 
Estimated Total Project Cost  $117,480,000 
Allocations Prior to FY 2020 $17,163.063 
FY 2020 Allocation  $24,920,000 
FY 2020 Total Capability  $24,920,000


Major Work Item Current Year
FY 2020: Design of the flood risk management project features in coordination with the local sponsor and numerous landowners and stakeholders. In FY 2020, design will be advanced with a combination of MVD districts and A/E firms involved. Multiple construction contracts will also be awarded with floodwall, pump station, road closure, and railroad closure features. Along with design, real estate actions will begin to be executed throughout the east side flood protection footprint. This includes land acquisitions as well as utility relocations and other actions to clear real estate interests.