Floodwalls and HESCO barriers coming down

BY KRISTEN EAST | JULY 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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Floodwalls and HESCO barriers protecting a handful of University of Iowa buildings have remained intact even as Iowa River levels have continued to decrease. And more than a month removed from initial flood-mitigation efforts, officials have begun the process of returning to a state of normalcy on the UI campus.

Officials started to disassemble floodwalls surrounding Art Building West on Monday, and removal of HESCO barriers around Mayflower Residence Hall is slated for Friday. Additionally, UI officials hope to start the process of removing remaining HESCOs around campus next week, according to a press release.

Officials plan to restore buildings, pedestrian walkways, and landscaping affected by flooding and mitigation by the time the fall semester starts, Aug. 26.

UI officials awarded four bids this week the flood-protection removal and site restoration of four campus areas, including East Campus north of Iowa Avenue, East Campus south of Iowa Avenue, the Arts  Campus, and Mayflower.

The budgets for each project and award of bid are as following:
• Arts Campus: Jasper Construction Services of Newton, Iowa, $83,100
• East Campus north of Iowa Avenue: Chris Jones Trucking of West Branch, $60,410
• East Campus south of Iowa Avenue: Carter and Associates Inc. of Coralville, $84,000
• Mayflower: Tricon General Construction Inc. of Dubuque, $59,000

The total cost to both set up and remove the HESCO barriers around campus stands at more than $5 million, The Daily Iowan previously reported.

UI President Sally Mason told the DI earlier this month that this year’s flood scare helped exemplify how prepared the university was in responding to another natural disaster.

“After [the 2008] flood, we learned so much, and we executed [the] plan perfectly,” Mason said. “All of the preparation that we did to keep any damage from happening to the campus this time really paid off.”

Officials started to close several university buildings leading into the first week of June, starting with the closure of Art Building West on May 30. The Theater Building and the former Museum of Art were closed the following day.

The UI’s flood-mitigation efforts also included sandbagging around several university buildings, closing various parking lots, and evacuating Mayflower.

While barriers and floodwalls are removed, a number of facilities and parking lots remain closed.

The southbound lane of Riverside Drive is closed, and won’t reopen until the removal of the floodwall around Art Building West is completed. The northbound lane is, however, open to alternating two-way traffic.

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