Officials in Cedar Rapids say a new flood protection measure should speed up the city’s response time to future flooding and eliminate the need for thousands of sandbags.
Public Works Maintenance Manager Craig Hanson says it’s called a Tiger Dam. The system involves a series of 50-foot long orange tubes. Each tube, when filled with water, is about a foot-and-a-half high.
"The main value of the Tiger Dams is speed," Hanson said. "Also, reduction of the use of sandbags and it also reduces potential injuries and reduces cleanup costs because sandbags, frankly, take longer to cleanup." Cheryl Witmer with the U.S. Flood Control Corporation says the dams are also stackable, so can provide extra protection where needed.
"Each 50-foot section replaces 500 sandbags and can be deployed by one or two guys," Witmer said. "No heavy equipment is needed. When you’re done with them, you drain them and roll them up and put them into storage."
The dams will give much of the city’s flood prone areas an extra two-feet of protection to about 24-feet. However, that’s about six-feet less than last year’s record flood stage.
Cedar Rapids bought nearly 300 Tiger Dams for about $400,000. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates permanent flood protection could take up to 15 years to build.