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Linn County taking down HESCO barriers at Sheriff's Office

'Efforts to clean up and get back to normal'

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CEDAR RAPIDS — One day after the Cedar River crested at 22 feet, Linn County officials have begun taking down flood protection walls around the Sheriff’s Office.

Steve Estenson, the county’s incident commander for the flood, said work began Wednesday to dismantle the eight-foot-tall wall of HESCO barriers wrapped around the building on Second Avenue SW.

Estenson said it’s the first of many steps to get the county buildings — a total of five were closed down due to flooding — back to normal operations.

“We’re planning our efforts to clean up and get back to normal,” he said.

Estenson said dismantling HESCO barriers involves lifting the units, which are designed to dump the sand out of the bottom. Sand, which has not been touched by floodwater, will then be loaded into dump trucks and taken to the Secondary Roads Department for reuse. The county spent about $100,000 on HESCO units in preparation for this flood.

“We’re hoping the process is simple enough that we don’t damage any of them, but our plan is to take the HESCOs down, fold them back up and put them on pallets and inventory them in case we need to use them again,” Estenson said.

All told, about 2,500 linear feet of HESCO units surround the Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, Estenson said the county is coordinating with the city to determine when they can remove barriers on the west side of the Third Avenue bridge to gain access to May’s Island.

The hope is to get staff back into those buildings in the coming days, he said.

“The idea would be to get back into operations as soon as possible, depending on how the removal of barriers goes,” he said.

For all of The Gazette's Flood 2016 coverage, please visit our flood coverage center.

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