- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Crews have begun work on flood protections in an area of Cedar Rapids that has seen devastating flooding along the Cedar River.

The work is the first large-scale project connected with a permanent flood protection system of flood walls, berms and levees to begin on the west side of the river, KCRG-TV (https://bit.ly/2iUFgse ) reported.

In a few years, the about half-mile Czech Village Levee will protect the area before the entire system is finished on both sides of the Cedar River.

Crews are currently digging up and relocating underground pipes and power lines, a $3.2 million project that’s expected to run through September.

Cedar Rapids flood project control manager Rob Davis said work on the berm won’t start until 2018 at the earliest, but will give area residents and businesses more protection against rising water when it’s finished.

Area business owner Mike Lathrop expressed his excitement on noticing the work.

“Even if it takes years to finish, at least they are working on it,” he said. “And a lot of people are going to be real comfortable with that idea. I know I will be.”

Davis said constant construction should be expected for a while.

“We’ll get between $10 and $15 million dollars a year from the state’s sales tax program from now until 2033,” he said. “So that equates to a lot of future construction.”

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Information from: KCRG-TV, https://www.kcrg.com

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