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Come high water, new Davenport flood plan prevents 2019 repeat

Davenport's $165 million Mississippi River Flood Resiliency Plan was unveiled Thursday, Nov. 18.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Underground sewer improvements, pumping stations, berms, road elevation changes and the deployment of temporary protections are all in the plans for preventing future flooding disasters in the City of Davenport.

Less than 3 years ago, the Mississippi River reached its historic crest at 22 feet in May 2019. The resulting floods cost the city about $3.5 million dollars to clean up, but the extensive damage to local businesses was priceless. 

RELATED: After surviving the 2019 flood, downtown businesses face a new obstacle

A flood task force was created shortly after the flood to tackle updates to the city's existing flood plan. And now, the city's flood resilience study nears its final approval after over a year of data gathering

The Quad Cities Chamber on Thursday, Nov. 18 shared Davenport's 336-page report, which outlines the city's future flood mitigation system. 

The system, designed by experts at engineering firm HR Green and developed with input from the flood task force and public comment, was created to better protect residents as well as critical and historic city infrastructure.

RELATED: One year since the flood breach: What Davenport leaders have and haven't learned

The Mississippi River Flood Resiliency Plan, if fully implemented, was estimated to cost the city $165 million. But that's only 22% of the cost of Cedar Rapids' $750 million flood management plan.

Find the flood plan presentation to the Davenport City Council here. Read the full flood plan, which breaks down improvements to every corridor of the 9-mile mitigation system, here

Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason said Thursday the city is not committed to everything the project outlines. She said the city council could decide certain projects are not needed.

Phase one of the project could start as early as 2022, Gleason said. Projects in that phase include underground infrastructure work, creating "backflow prevention" and raising some roads, including River Drive near the Village of East Davenport.

The first phase of the project could take between five to 10 years to complete, Gleason said. She was not willing to speculate how long the entire plan would take to complete.

Gleason emphasized that a large flood wall is not a part of this plan. Instead, shorter, 5-foot walls would be built along the railroad tracks on River Drive. She said those small walls would not impact the river views.

Find more Davenport flood coverage here: