Davenport Public Works Department in the process of improving flood protection

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 9:27 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Davenport Public Works Department is in the process of improving the areas flood protection.

Following the 2019 flood a new resiliency flood plan was requested for the improvements and was approved by the City Council and the Mayor in 2021.

Assistant Public Works Director Clay Merritt said they have identified key priority projects including new storm sewer improvements.

Merritt said one of the first areas of attention will be the storm sewer system on 3rd and 4th Street and Marquette Street due to its historic infrastructure, but the changes don’t stop there.

“We’ve made some pretty substantial operational changes.” Merritt said.

Davenport city leaders say progress is being made on their flood resiliency plan, it was approved by the city in 2021 and as Assistant Public Works Director, Merritt says it addresses some key needs when it comes to protecting the city from flooding, one of the target areas is Marquette Street at 3rd and 4th Streets.

“Those intersections go into water,” Merrit said. “So we have to, shut off access from East River Drive and into and from the downtown because water actually doesn’t overtop the seawall and get into the intersection, it actually comes up from underneath the storm sewer system.”

“Same things happening at River Drive and Marquette,” Merritt said. “That one actually goes under, probably around 14 and a half and once again, it’s happening, the same thing is happening.”

Work is underway to fix those issues, even as flooding once again takes over many sections of lower Davenport.

“We probably have anywhere between $18 and $20 million of projects lined up ready to go where we’ve secured the funding,” Merritt said. “Engineering is getting ready to be finalized in place waiting on those permits so we can move into construction. All the while we’re then planning for the next series of projects also and that’s where it’s happening in the next year to year and a half.”

Merritt says the city is aware of how important it is to get these projects done.

“It’s a priority for the Council,” Merritt said. “So the City Council, the Mayor set the priorities from a city perspective, it’s one of their, their priorities and so it’s, it’s high on our list that we continue to move it forward.”

Merritt said that the entire project will cover all nine miles of the riverfront.

Merritt did say that they also plan to better protect the Waste Water Treatment Plant, he says that has a three phase approach costing roughly $25 million.