Re-entry of flood evacuation area - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Re-entry of flood evacuation area

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Re-Entry of Flood Evacuation Area

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – September 29, 2016 – The Cedar River level has dropped to under 19 feet. The safety of residents and property owners has remained the number one priority for the City throughout the duration of this flood event. With the decreasing risk, the full evacuation area will be lifted by Noon on Friday, September 30 for business and residents to access their property for flood-recovery efforts.  The curfew will end on Friday, September 30 at 7:00 a.m.

If you do not have property in the evacuation area, please avoid the area to help reduce congestion as much as possible. Construction vehicles need safe and clear access in order to work as quickly and as efficiently as possible to remove temporary flood control measures. If possible, please wait until Saturday to begin moving heavy items back to help avoid additional trucks and trailers in the area.

Crews will work today and tomorrow as quickly as possible to restore access. Road closures will be lifted as soon as feasible as standing water recedes and barriers and pumps are safely removed. The bridges downtown have been inspected for safety and will be opened as soon as Hesco barriers are removed. Road closure information will continue to be posted at Motorists should heed all road closures and be mindful of traffic signals.  Traffic signals that were deactivated are being restored over the next several days to assist with safe traffic flow.

Residents are still urged to stay out of the revised evacuation area and to heed curfew times until Friday. Do not go near the temporary flood control system or go near water.

Information for Businesses

Many flood impacted businesses will need assistance with sand bags and moving back into facilities. To volunteer with this effort please contact United Way at  Businesses that need assistance with these activities are encouraged to call 211.

The City will be sending out a survey in early October to assess economic impact to private and non-profit employers, commercial property owners, and residential landlords in the 28-foot evacuation zone.  Those who are not already included in an email distribution list with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance or Czech Village/NewBo Mainstreet District should visit the City's website and complete a form to receive future surveys and communications.  The form can be found online at 

Commercial properties are responsible for collection and disposal of sandbags, and the Downtown and NewBo SSMID Districts will be partnering on sandbag removal efforts. Collection sites will be identified and communicated, and businesses can dispose of bags at no charge. Businesses are asked to keep sandbags onsite until they are taken to one of the designated collection sites. Those who have scheduled a private service for removal may leave sandbags at the curb for pickup for up to 24 hours.

Information on Re-Entry of Homes or Businesses
The City provided a list of homes in the evacuation areas to Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy, and has given approval for all homes to have electricity and gas turned back on. Your gas may already be turned on, or you will receive a door hanger with instructions how to have it turned back on.

Flood water – even minimal levels – can create safety hazards in your home or business. Re-establishing safe utility services are critical as residents re-enter and evaluate their properties. Properties may have water in the basement from sewer backup.

If your electrical system, furnace and water heater have been submerged for any reason, they are to be considered dangerous and unsafe.  Call both your electrical and gas provider immediately:

         Alliant Energy – 1-800-ALLIANT or 1-800-255-4268
         MidAmerican Energy – 1-888-427-5632
You will need to hire a contractor properly registered with the State of Iowa to repair the damage before it is safe to re-establish electrical and/or gas utilities. If you are uncertain whether a contractor is registered, the City has established a phone line and will verify if the contractor is properly registered and licensed by the State of Iowa.  Please call 319-286-5929 to verify.  This is not a contractor referral, but is a verification service. We encourage you to get referrals from friends and family on contractors. 

The Mayor has waived the fee for Flood Permits which will be issued for all repairs within the flood inundation level. Contractors must obtain a Flood Permit from the City.

Upon completion of work, a City inspector will then inspect the work, and if determined safe, will provide a release number for Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy to turn the utilities back on.

Disposal of Flood Debris
Those outside of the revised evacuation area can now begin the process of evaluating their properties and cleaning up any flood debris. Residents are asked to place flood debris into four separate piles at the curb: one for drywall, carpet, and other household flood debris; one for household hazardous materials like oil-based paints and stains, automotive fluids, and cleaning supplies; one for appliances; and one for electronics. The City will collect these items for free; however, the Solid Waste & Recycling Division will not be able to determine how long collection will take until all residents are back in their homes and they have a better sense of the total amount of debris that will need to be collected.

Disposal of Sandbags
Please do not place sandbags in your collection carts. Residents looking to remove dry or wet sandbags immediately can bring them to two locations:

         Noelridge Pool parking lot, starting at 7 a.m. on Friday
         Ellis Park, starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday

Residents not able to haul sandbags can leave them on their property until the City is able to collect them free of charge. Sandbag pickup is anticipated to start October 10 and run for two weeks.

As a reminder: Solid Waste and Recycling will not be collecting in the flood evacuation zone this week; normal collection will continue throughout the rest of the city. Starting Monday, October 3, Solid Waste & Recycling collection will resume as scheduled for customers who were within the evacuation area. These customers will be allowed to put out two 35-gallon bags of household garbage with their collection carts for no additional fee. The public is asked to use water conservatively to assist the storm sewer system. Transit operations are suspended through September 30 until the flood risk recedes and additional roads can be safely re-opened.

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