Cedar Rapids learns from firsthand look at Red River flooding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids learns from firsthand look at Red River flooding

by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - As North Dakota braced for the worst, officials in Cedar Rapids knew it meant a valuable opportunity.

"We went to see some lessons learned," said Ken DeKeyser, Storm Water Utility Manager for the Cedar Rapids Public Works Department. "We want to see what worked and what didn't."

DeKeyser was one of two engineers with the Cedar Rapids Public Works Department to see flood protection efforts firsthand in Fargo and Grand Forks.

"One thing that surprised us is the magnitude of the Corps of Engineers involvement," said DeKeyser. "They have a permanent office up there and they get regularly involved in floods to help construct levees."

DeKeyser had to rely largely on discussion with engineers since those levees and barriers were covered in a foot of snow. Aside from a few minor leaks, DeKeyser says the hesco barriers Cedar Rapids also plans to use held up well.

And there were other forms of protection likely to make their way here.

"They have constructed a number of valves on their storm sewer outlets and pump stations to prevent water from the river from backing up into the streets," said DeKeyser.

"Last June thousands of residents had to evacuate their homes in Cedar Rapids. Part of what really struck DeKeyser on his visit north was that despite the near-record flooding, no one had to be evacuated because people were so well educated and prepared. Education he hopes to bring to Cedar Rapids can be better prepared when the next flood hits.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel


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