Flooding Causes Damage To Infrastructure

They are popping up all over the west side of Council Bluffs, including this monster at 6th Avenue and 26th Street.

Sewer failures are creating serious problems and the price tag is staggering.

"We've put together some preliminary figures just on our infrastructure costs and it jumps over a hundred million just instantly. a massive number for a community our size," Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Byars said. "We don't even know some of the damage out there."

City Engineer Matt Cox is starting to find out.

He says a rising water table and old infrastructure is the root of the problem.

"Ground water infiltrates the old clay pipe and what that does it that actually sucks the fine sands into the pipe and when that happens the pipe loses support and ultimately it will collapse," he said.

And there's no telling how large the break is initially.

"We may have to chase this a half a block in each direction to get back to a stable solid line that we can tie into," Cox said.

That's what happened when a dump truck fell through the street while repairing another failure half a block away.

Carl Brown says sewer collapses can create dangers for drivers.

"You can see the tire tracks where someone was going across when it started to sink and they had to accelerate to get across and get out of it," he said. "In the back of your mind you're looking for one."

Repairs can't occur until the water table is lowered.

Contractors install wells, the amount of water gushing out of the eight inch pipes highlights the problem.

And that street where the dump truck fell in is now repaired. Resurfacing should be done within a week.

But this may just be the beginning of a long term problem.

"You just wonder how many more and how big this is all going to be," Brown said.

Cox said if anyone sees any changes on the streets should call the Public Works hotline at 712-328-4616.

Anyone familiar with the roads on the city's west side, whether they live there or drive through frequently, can help the city by reporting potential problems.

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