Council Bluffs closing trails to repair levee damaged in 2019 flooding

If you walk or bike along the trail system here, be prepared to take some detours.
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - If you walk or bike along the trail system here, be prepared to take some detours.

A big part of the city’s trail system sits on top of the levee system, which is still feeling the effects of the 2019 Heartland Flood. Portions of the levee have to be repaired.

Council Bluffs officials said that back in 0219, flood water came all the way up to the base of the levee in some spots. All that water was left behind.

Work crews from the Army Corps of Engineers will clean it all up.

“A lot of the sediment deposited into the tributaries to the outflow areas from our drainage structures, so a lot of the work is just to clean out the sediment that was deposited due to the flood,” said Dave Lagrone, Army Corps of Engineers.

A lot of the city’s trails run across the top of the levees and will have to be shut down in spots to allow for construction work. Signs are already up, and the side of the trail north of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is closed.

“We’re going to do some earth work there to thicken some of the seepage areas,” Lagrone said. “We’re going to replace four of the large drainage structures, then there’s a lot of work to clean out on the river side.”

The trial starting at the pedestrian bridge is closed now until the end of March. Shutting down portions of the Bluffs Trial system will be an inconvenience, but the levee repair work has to be done.

“In Council Bluffs, we have about 28 miles of levy system that really protects the low areas of Council Bluffs,” Mayor Matt Walsh said. “About 60% of the population lives in that area, so it’s very important that we keep it well repaired and maintained.”

The Army Corps of Engineers said there are three repair projects along the Council Bluffs trail system. They figure it will cost around $7 million to get everything repaired. They plan to get to work in the fall and finish before any spring flooding.

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