HESCO Barriers taken down in Davenport

Davenport, Iowa. (KWQC) - After more than ninety days, the HESCO barriers in Downtown Davenport are finally coming down. And River Drive is slowly being opened to the public.

The City of Davenport has started removing the HESCO barriers, from the Freighthouse all the way down to Perry Street. The public works director told TV6 she's hoping all HESCOs will be removed by the end of this week, and many are excited to see them come down.

"It feels good! I hope they stay down this time!" said Mary Talbert, owner of Crafted Quad Cities.

The HESCO barriers have been up for months, trying to hold back the Mississippi River.

"This flood has been so devastating, it's been up and set a record for the duration and it's cost a lot of people a lot of business down here," said Ken Sutton, who tried visiting a restaurant that was closed on River Drive.

The Mississippi River crested and set a record in Davenport on May 22nd at 22.7 feet. Wednesday night, it was just under 18 feet - which is major flood stage.

"I'm happy finally seeing the river down now, definitely I've gotten used to the HESCO barriers but it's nice the river is going down," said Harshad Bavdekar, Davenport resident.

Lorrie Beaman, executive director of Freighthouse Farmer's Market said, "you know, it's a relief. You just want traffic to flow normally again, you want people to understand we're all open for business."

As inconvienient as the barriers were, people understand they are necessary.

"They're a necessary evil and regardless of the fact that we did have a breach, for a very very long time they did their job for us and keeping the water back" continued Beaman.

The barriers have been coming down one by one, since the beginning of the week, starting on the west side of Davenport.

Nicole gleason, Public Works Director for Davenport explained that they can't take down every barrier in one day, "Obviously they can't all come down in a day with the volume of sand and volume of barriers, we can only deconstruct in the order the water touches the barriers and go backward from there."

With the river dropping and HESCOs coming down, businesses have seen a pleasant change, Talbert said, "just in the last couple of days, business has been up and it's a lot of fun and seeing people back up and enjoying downtown."

"I hope that we get our downtown back and it'll be once again a happy downtown place once again," said Bavdekar.

Now the city workers can take a bit of a break - they'll hopefully be reduced from a 12 hour day to 8 hours, and no more on call weekends!

While the barriers are coming down, the streets still need to be cleaned, so River Drive won't be open for at least a week.