Cedar Rapids Flood Mitigation System

The Cedar River, which runs through the middle of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has a long history of flooding. During the devastating June 2008 flood, the river crested at over 31 feet, surpassing the previous record of 20 feet. Flood waters inundated 10 square miles, or 14 percent of the city, impacting 5,390 houses and dislocating over 18,000 residents.

The city now plans a comprehensive flood mitigation plan for the east and west sides of the Cedar River over the next 15 to 20 years. It will consist of a system of flood barriers comprised of levees, floodwalls, and pump stations, as well as numerous gates to close streets and railroads that pass through the lines of protection.

Stanley Consultants, in conjunction with another local engineering firm, will provide preliminary and final design services and coordinate all regulatory and permitting agencies for the east side of the river. The project begins at the Quaker Oats plant and extends three miles to the Cargill Corn Processing plant.

Completion of the entire Flood Mitigation System is expected to take 15 to 20 years. Stanley Consultants is designing an expansion of the floodwall in the area of Quaker Oats under a separate contract.

Floods in Cedar Rapids 2008. Photo:  U.S. Geological Survey
Floods in Cedar Rapids 2008. Photo: U.S. Geological Survey

“We are honored to be part of the team helping to protect Cedar Rapids from future flooding,” said Gayle Roberts, President and CEO of Stanley Consultants. “It was heart wrenching to watch in 2008 when the flood waters inundated Cedar Rapids. At the six-year mark, it is not just a time to see how much has yet to be done, but to see how much has been accomplished, from a new amphitheater integrated into the flood mitigation system, to a new Federal courthouse, to a state-of-the-art convention center, and the New Bohemia Main Street District. The Cedar Rapids and Midwestern ‘can-do’ spirit truly make this recovery an example of the City’s Vision of ‘…people and businesses invested in building a greater community now and for the next generation.’”

Flooded houses Cedar Rapids 2008. Photo:  U.S. Geological Survey
Flooded houses Cedar Rapids 2008. Photo: U.S. Geological Survey

Program Management

The City of Cedar Rapids also tapped Stanley Consultants to provide program management services for the comprehensive flood mitigation project to be used by consultants developing flood mitigation plans on both sides of the river. The company will develop a comprehensive database to track critical project information and provide oversight of the entire flood mitigation project.

Stanley Consultants provided similar program management services to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Task Force Guardian following Hurricane Katrina. The company successfully shepherded 59 construction projects under taken by 26 contractors to restore miles of floodwalls and levees in and around New Orleans. See more here…

Flooded cars in Cedar Rapids 2008. Photo:  U.S. Geological Survey
Flooded cars in Cedar Rapids 2008. Photo: U.S. Geological Survey