HomeLocal GovernmentDepartments G - VPublic Works > Flood Control System

Public Works

Cedar Rapids Flood Control System Logo - Strengthening Our CommunityFlood Control System

The Flood Control System is designed to convey the same water volume as the flood of 2008, reducing flood risk through the heart of Cedar Rapids on both the west and east sides of the river. The system will include a combination of floodwalls, levees and gates, and incorporate aesthetic elements that reflect our community’s culture, history, and vision.

Map of flood control system
Flood Control System - Legend

Strengthening our Community

City Council formally adopted the Cedar River Flood Control System Master Plan on June 23, 2015 (updated 9/11/18). The master plan provides long-term direction for the implementation and construction of the flood control system, and will protect as many flood-vulnerable properties as possible.

Fast Facts

  • Designed to convey the same water volume as the flood of 2008
  • Approximately 7 miles long
  • Protects both sides of the river
  • Combination of permanent floodwalls, removable walls, levees and gates (approximately 20 percent removable walls)
  • Incorporates aesthetic elements that reflect culture and history of the community 
  • Includes pump stations and detention basins to protect against rain water flooding as pipes close to protect against river.

Jump to

Current Initiatives

Alignment Options in North Industrial Area
The City held a public open house on August 22 to provide additional information on flood control alignment options in the north industrial area in the vicinity of Quaker Oats and Cedar Lake

The north industrial area is defined as the segment on the east side of the river, upstream of Quaker Oats. The City is considering an alternate alignment that would protect 85-90 additional properties, while avoiding constructing across federal railroads. A final recommendation will be made for council consideration within the next six months.


Czech Village Levee Czech Village levee construction work

  • Utility Relocations: Complete
  • Levee Construction: 2018–2020
    • 2018–2019: Solid Waste Agency to Bowling Street SW
    • 2019–2020: Bowling Street to 16th Avenue SW
  • First permanent flood control on the west side of the river since the adoption of the master plan.
  • Levee will be approximately ½ mile long.
  • Will provide immediate protection of a river surge up to 19.5 feet; protection to 2008 volume upon Flood Control System completion.
  • Funding made possible through State Flood Hazard Mitigation Program. 
NewBo/Masaryk Park Monument Relocations Masaryk Park monument rendering
  • Park construction: 2019-2020
  • Collection of markers and memorial benches which recall individuals significant to the history and development of the New Bohemia District. 
  • Monuments were removed during levee construction and will be relocated to a new site in the district.

Quaker Oats Flood Wall
 Rendering of Quaker Oats flood wall
  • Construction: August 2018–2021
  • First major permanent protection downtown.
  • Protects one of the nation's leading agricultural producers.
  • 2,100 linear feet of permanent flood wall.
  • Will ultimately protect to the 2008 flood volume.
  • Includes pump station upgrades, water transmission main relocation, and railroad closure gate.
8th Avenue Bridge Replacement8thAve_Bridge rendering
  • Construction: 2023+
  • Will raise the bridge above the 2008 flood volume.
  • Will provide an additional emergency route across the river during flood events.
  • Maintain access to hospitals, the police department, and I-380 interchange.
  • Will be combined with additional development and facility improvements in the Kingston Village District.

Completed Segments

Northwest Gateway & Memorial Plaza Rendering of plaza
  • Completed: June 2018
  • Situated along O Avenue & Ellis Blvd NW.
  • Will include greenway space, benches, and a memorial wall.
  • The plaza will also feature a distinctive gateway that will welcome residents and visitors to the site. 
  • Privately-funded "West Side Rising" sculpture pays tribute to neighborhood recovery and persistence

Lot 44 Pump Station
 Rendering of brick pump house
  • Construction: 2016–Spring 2018
  • Located between 8th and 12th Avenues NE in New Bohemia District. 
  • Pumping capacity: 12,000 gallons per minute at opening, with capacity for expansion.
  • Aesthetics designed to complement character of neighboring district.
  • Includes gate to prevent the river from backing up into the neighborhood through storm sewers.
  • Protects community from rain inundation by pumping rainwater back into the Cedar River.
Sinclair LeveeSinclair / NewBo Levee 
  • Stretches from the African American Museum to Alliant Substation.
  • Just under ½ mile long.
  • 13–23 feet tall on average, 130 feet at its widest.
  • Provides immediate protection of a river surge up to 20 feet; protection to 2008 volume upon Flood Control System completion.
  • Includes a 12 foot wide concrete bike and pedestrian trail.
  • Includes walls next to 16th Avenue NE for a future gate.Sinclair Detention Basin
Sinclair Detention Basin 
  • Construction: 2016 – 2017, grading/aesthetics 2018 
  • 4.4 acres, used to store excess rain water until it can be safely pumped back into the river
  • Can safely store rainwater up to 4 feet deep
  • Includes paved lot for excess snow storage during snow removal efforts 
Sinclair Pump Station 
Sinclair Pump Station
  • Sized for 3 pumps
  • Capacity of 2,500 gallons per minute at opening, with expansion capability
  • Used when underground flood gates are closed and rain water needs to be pumped back into the river

CRST Riverwalk 
Rendering of CRST riverwalk
  • Provides a pedestrian walkway along the Cedar River between 2nd and 3rd Avenues

McGrath Amphitheatre
  • Recreation blended with protection.
  • Designed to take on water, the amphitheater also provides a signature outdoor concert and event venue.Amphitheatre


Project Budget & Funding

Total project cost estimate = $550 million ($750 million over 20 years)
Funding is combination of Federal, State, City, and Private dollars


  • $117 million Federal US Army Corps of Engineers
          $76.3 million contribution
          $41 million loan 
  • $267 million State of Iowa Flood Mitigation Board
  • $14 million federal grants 
           $12.5 million Federal CDBG Disaster Recovery Grant
           $1.75 million Federal Economic Development Administration
           $1 million DOT railroad grant

City Financial Plan Approved 9-11-18

  • $264 million local funding plan
  • Read more about the Funding Plan

Reducing Our Flood Risk
Since 2008, the City has significantly reduced its flood risk. A history of risk reduction efforts includes

  • Developed interim flood control plan
  • Removed 1,300+ properties from the flood zone
  • Adopted new flood insurance rate maps
  • Updated Floodplain Management Ordinance
  • Secured GRI state funding of $267M
  • Improved sanitary sewers and raised the City’s wells
  • Upgraded and protected the Water Pollution Control Facility
  • Completed interim levee repairs
  • Raised buildings flooded in 2008
  • Raised two bridges over Prairie Creek
  • Designed and constructed the McGrath Amphitheatre levee
  • Designed the CRST building to include a flood wall
  • Completed improvements to the sanitary sewer system and watershed management practices.
  • Sanitary sewer and watershed management improvements (ongoing) 
What's Happened Since 2008?

At a Glance: Flood Control System Plan 

Plan Includes:

  • Alignment – where the walls, levees, gates, and floodwalls will go on both sides of the river
  • Implementation – what should be built first, and how 
  • Property acquisition and disposition – providing as much flexibility as possible for property owners
  • Budget – what it will cost and the funding sources
  • Aesthetics – how will it look and blend into the community
  • Communication and public outreach – keeping the community, legislatures, and public officials informed.

View the master plan in its entirety: Flood Control System Master Plan (updated 9/11/18) 

Stay Informed

© 2018  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

Powered By Revize Login