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Evaluating Alternatives to Managing Flood Risks

Stanley Consultants provided engineering support to the U.S. Army COE after record level flooding inundated the City of Cedar Rapids.

In June 2008, the Cedar River crested to its highest level in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, history of over 31 feet surpassing the previous record of 20 feet.  Flood waters inundated 10 square miles, or 14 percent of the city, impacting 5,390 houses and dislocating over 18,000 residents.  More than 300 City facilities were damaged.

In July of 2008, Stanley Consultants was hired to coordinate with the Army Corps of Engineers development of flood management options for the City of Cedar Rapids.  The U.S. Army COE administers federal water resource programs for one of the world's largest inland waterway system and its tributaries, covering a 78,000 square-mile radius, serving five river basins in five states.

The purpose of the feasibility study was to determine if a federal project to build permanent floodwalls could be recommended as economically feasible and environmentally acceptable.  The typical feasibility study process takes up to five years to complete.  Because of the intensive public participation planning process the City held in the months following the flood, the timeline was shortened to two years.

Stanley Consultants provided comprehensive engineering support for the overall USACE feasibility study including project coordination and engineering support.  Project coordination included participation on the Corps' Product Delivery Team; support of USACE organized public meetings, documentation of meetings, and scheduling support.  Engineering support included the development and evaluation of various structural and non-structural alternatives to manage flood risk.  Major engineering responsibilities included preparation of 35 percent level design plans for the preferred plan and preparation of the Geotechnical, Structural Assessment, and Cost Estimate Appendices.