Protection site

Cedar Rapids flood protection making progress, but Hinson sees need for additional funding

Corps says east side project still underway for 2026

Republican U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson speaks to reporters Monday during a visit to inspect the progress of the Cedar Rapids Flood Management Project. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

Army Corps of Engineers Col. Jesse T. Curry listens to questions Monday from U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson during a visit to inspect the Cedar Rapids Flood Management Project. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A “behemoth” flood mitigation project along the east side of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids is four years away from completion, but its impact is already visible, U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson said Monday after having visited the projects of the Army Corps of Engineer from Shaver Road to Otis Road.

“I think, to me, it’s a great story to tell in Washington,” the 1st District Republican said of the three-quarters of a billion dollar flood control project unfolding on both sides of the river.

However, Hinson has another story to tell when she returns to Washington. This is because rising material prices have created a funding shortfall in the flood control project estimated at $750 million – about $350 million for the east side of the river, which involves the body of army, and the same on the west side, said the deputy of the city. Manager Sandi Fowler, who was part of the tour. The resource gap is $84 million, now up $6 million or less than 1% of project cost, since 2018.

“So something that I’ll take back to Washington with me is, ‘Hey, there’s going to be an additional need,'” said Hinson, who serves on the House Appropriations and Budget committees. expensive right now and these projects are not immune to cost increases. We need to have the conversation about it.

Senator Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha

State Senator Liz Mathis, who hopes to unseat Hinson in the midterm elections this fall, said she finds it ironic that Hinson is advocating for congressional funding for flood prevention.

“While in Congress, she voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the American Rescue Plan Act which provided funding for flood mitigation projects similar to the one she visited today. today,” the Hiawatha Democrat said. “I’m thrilled the City of Cedar Rapids has earmarked funds for the US bailout to ensure everyone in the city is protected from future flooding – no thanks to Ashley Hinson.”

Hinson cited the project as an example of what can be accomplished when public and private sectors as well as federal, state and local governments work together to meet community needs “in a way that continues to preserve the things that make our unique community. ”

After the tour, Colonel Jesse Curry, Commanding Officer and District Engineer of the Corps’ Rock Island District, spoke about the complexities of carrying out a flood mitigation project in a limited space in an urban setting. The project was planned to proceed with the least impact on “community essentials”, such as downtown businesses and attractions, and industries along the river corridor.

Standing outside City Hall, which sits near the bank of the Cedar River, Curry said, “Being able to place a flood control structure between the water and these facilities is a significant technical challenge. To do that, without totally shutting down everything that makes Cedar Rapids what it is, is a unique challenge.

“It will be an example for other cities across the country,” Curry said, adding that the Corps remains confident it will complete its work on schedule in 2026.

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