For more than a year now, construction crews have been camped out around the Iowa-American Water Treatment Plant in Davenport. Work resumed in mid-March, and crews are on schedule to complete a flood wall around the water treatment facility by November of this year.
The goal of the $7.3 million project is to make the need for sandbags a thing of the past. Friday, project engineer Mark Pratt of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated the project is about 70 percent complete.
"Right now, we're constructing a flood wall around the water treatment plant, so that if a flood does come, the water treatment plant can still produce drinking water for pretty much all of Scott County," said Pratt.
Though the wall won't be finished for this spring's flood season, Pratt said what's already completed would still be a big help if the Mississippi was to leave its banks. The contractor is required to have a flood plan in place, which would involve bringing in dirt to fill the gaps where the wall is not yet constructed.
"You really don't have to do too much, which is the nice thing about flood walls. There are three gated closures, two across the railroad tracks that pass through the project. So, if the waters do come up, they will have to close those, and the railroad will be of course shut down for that time period," said Pratt of the finished project.
Crews are currently working towards the East to build the wall several feet higher than record flood waters. The work has also shut down the riverfront bike path.
"There's a big, 20-foot hole there where people would normally ride their bikes, so it's not safe for the public to ride their bikes or run through the project at this point," said Pratt.
At this point, Pratt said there's no room to run a temporary trail, either. The Corps, though, hopes to have a new, 12-foot wide bike path open by July.
The wall is a joint project between the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Davenport, and Iowa-American Water. The project is mostly being paid for through a federal grant.