HEARTLAND FLOOD: Officials meet in Cedar Rapids to break ground on flood gate

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP)-- Cedar Rapids officials have announced construction of a new flood gate to protect part of downtown from Cedar River flooding.

The Gazette reports that city leaders, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials and members of Iowa's congressional delegation gathered Tuesday for a groundbreaking ceremony.

The 4-foot thick gate will be 14 feet tall and 67 feet long and will hide behind a flood wall when not in use. It can be rolled into place within minutes to protect the New Bohemia business district when the river rises.

A contract to complete the $2.4 million gate was signed last week, and construction will likely begin later this year or next spring.

The city has been slowly assembling a $550 million flood control system since devastating floods ravaged Cedar Rapids in 2008.