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Officials see flood ease

BY REBECCA MORIN | JULY 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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Despite recent rainfall this past weekend, Johnson County, Iowa City, and University of Iowa officials have seen conditions improving at the Coralville Reservoir, and they are now assessing flood-protection costs.

As of Sunday, the water level of the Coralville Reservoir is expected to peak at 708.16 feet on Tuesday, and officials expect the level will continue to drop, according to a Johnson County Emergency Management press release.

Last week officials projected the waters to exceed the reservoir’s spillway, which is 712 feet, on Wednesday or Thursday.

The university spent more than $3 million on to prevent flood damage to the university last year, but costs for this year are still being evaluated.

University officials installed a 12-foot HESCO barrier around Mayflower, as well as a 4-foot HESCO barrier along the east and west banks of the Iowa River.

“Once again, the University of Iowa is facing the prospect of serious flooding and once again our campus community is rising to the occasion,” UI President Sally Mason said in a statement July 3.  “I have full confidence in our team who are putting protective measures in place and taking other actions to keep our people and facilities safe.”

Iowa City, Coralville, Johnson County, Hills, and the UI spent more than $4 million to prevent flood damage last year.

However, expenses for this year will vary for each area.

Although last week Gov. Terry Branstad issued a proclamation of disaster emergency to Johnson County in response to flooding and severe weather, officials are now seeking a presidential disaster declaration for Johnson County.

The declaration would bring in extra money for public assistance, infrastructure repair, as well as reimbursement for flood-mitigation measures.

As of Sunday, the inflow to the reservoir was 27,000 cubic feet per second. The inflow is project to fall to 18,000 cubic feet per second by Tuesday, and current projections show the Iowa River will remain at 18,000 cubic feet per second until July 14.

On July 14, the levels are expected to drop to 15,000 cubic feet per second, and by SDaturday, the levels will go down to 12,000 cubic feet per second.

With more rains expected this week, officials are taking precautions by possibly lowering the Reservoir’s level to help Iowa City and Coralville. The precaution would be temporary.

Although predictions do not anticipate waters going over the Reservoir’s spillway, mandatory evacuations are still currently in place for several roads in Johnson County.

The roads under a mandatory evacuation include Cou Falls Bridge on Amana Road, Izaak Walton Road S.E., Camino Del Rio S.E., Driftwood Lane S.E., Ocean Boulevard S.E., River Front Estates N.E., 6979 and 6951 Tri County Bridge Road, Lola Lane S.E., Sand Road South of 560th Street to Highway 22, Winter Eagle Road S.E., River Bend Road S.E., and Fountain Court S.E.

Flood-protective measures are still in place to handle excessive Iowa River level conditions. The measures will remain in place until further notice, a Johnson County Emergency Management press release said.


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