- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa City is preparing to start work on a $59 million flood recovery and mitigation project.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/1MaDQq6 ) reports that crews began removing trees last week in preparation for the Gateway Project, which was prompted by the record-setting 2008 flood.

About 300 more trees have been marked for teardown by April 15, and MidAmerican Energy is also preparing to move overhead power lines, underground cables and gas lines.

The project is made up of three once-separate projects that include raising a section of North Dubuque Street, installing a new drainage system underneath that street, and replacing the Park Road Bridge.

Public Works Director Ron Knoche said the project has been in the works for several years.

The original project timeline was delayed several years as a result of a prolonged National Environmental Policy Act study and considerable public comments.

“Since the 2008 flood, this is really the last major flood recovery project the city has left to do. And it’s a big one,” Knoche said. “With this project’s overall total budget, this is the largest capital project the city has undertaken, and it has a lot going on.”

Melissa Clow, the city’s special project manager, said that the city will work to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction on North Dubuque Street during construction. She added that there will be some closures as needed to fit the Iowa Department of Transportation’s specifications.

“We’ll be overseeing construction, but we will need to go through the formal DOT audit to make sure everything is done correctly and per specification,” Clow said. “And once work is done, we have a full landscape plan that will replace shrubs, trees and native grasses along the street.”

The flood project is expected to be completed in August 2018.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

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