Cedar Rapids has a new temporary flood protection system that can replace dozens of sandbags. It’s called a HESCO box and is a square basket that is filled with sand. Public Works maintenance manager, Craig Hanson, says the box gives them added height to their flood protection system.
"What this does is raise that slightly above the 100-year flood plain and as we continue to do capital improvement projects through the future will start allowing us to put the Dutch finger in the dike on the bottom parts of it for where our storm pipes come through," Hanson says. Cedar Rapids councilman Chuck Wieneke says the boxes add some protection to, but he says it will not be a complete defense.
Weinke says the main advantage is they will be able to protect the area up to 24 feet, as prior to the 31 foot record flood last year, they’ve had problems in the 20 foot range. He says the boxes give the added protection until the new levee is built. Wieneke says the ability to withstand a flood such as last year’s could be ready in about fifteen years — when the Army Corps of Engineers completes permanent flood levees.
The city spent nearly $600,000 for the temporary system. That brings the total amount of money spent on temporary flood protection measures in Cedar Rapids to about one million dollars. They have also purchased "Tiger Dams," or tubes that can be filled with water.