Despite sub-zero temperatures, Cedar Rapids is thinking spring, more specifically, spring flooding. Workers are starting their annual task of replenishing the city’s sandbag supply, but this year’s job is tougher as there are no left-over bags from last year. Craig Hanson, the city’s Public Works maintenance manager, says every bag was used battling last June’s record floods.
Hanson says, "This is the first time we’ve ever been totally zero at this time of year, since I’ve been here five years." ‘Totally zero’ means workers have to fill the shelves with the usual 15-thousand sandbags Cedar Rapids usually has at the ready for possible spring flooding.
Last year, there were more than 200-thousand sandbags used in Cedar Rapids. Hanson says extra help from workers with the federally-funded emergency public jobs program has been very welcome. Hanson says, "They provide the hands that we need for additional assistance while our other crews out right now working on snow removal."
The city expects it to take three weeks to fill the roughly 15-thousand sandbags. They’re mainly used in the event of winter ice jams and for spring flooding.