110-year-old storm sewer to be replaced

One-way sections of E and F Avenues NW will be converted to two-ways as part of project

A portion of the brick storm sewer under E Avenue NW that collapsed during the 2008 flood. (Gazette file photo)
A portion of the brick storm sewer under E Avenue NW that collapsed during the 2008 flood. (Gazette file photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Federal disaster dollars are coming to the city’s aid again.

Beginning in late June, 3,100 feet of 110-year-old storm sewer will be replaced under E Avenue NW from Third Street almost to 13th.

A section of the storm sewer — an arched brick structure eight feet tall and 14 feet wide that was built in the late 1800s and early 1900s — collapsed in 2009 from damage caused by the Floods of 2008. The collapse took a section of E Avenue with it, and the temporary fix for that problem left a block of the roadway limited to one lane of traffic.

Federal Community Development Block Grant disaster funds are paying the cost of the $8.9 million permanent replacement project, which will include a new storm sewer, street reconstruction and sidewalk replacement. No local funds will be used, said Dave Wallace, Cedar Rapids’ project engineer.

The construction will bring a permanent change to long-established patterns of traffic flow on E and F avenues NW. Both streets will change from one-ways to two-ways between Third Street and Ellis Boulevard.

Wallace said the expectation is that F Avenue will be converted to a two-way as construction on the E Avenue project begins in late June.

Work on E will start at Third Street NW and move toward 13th Street. Portions of E Avenue in the construction area will stay open as sections under construction close. Work between Third and Ellis Boulevard NW should be complete in 2012, with work from Ellis Boulevard nearly to 13th Street slated for 2013.

The 110-year-old brick storm sewer will be placed by a rectangular concrete box culvert, eight feet high and 12 feet wide.

The old brick sewer, Wallace said, worked well for its long life until it was damaged by the flood. One piece of the storm sewer had problems some years ago related to construction in the area of 12th Street NW, he said.

As it replaces the old sewer, the city is working at the same time to preserve a century-old former neighborhood fire station at Fifth Street and E Avenue NW that was damaged in the 2008 flood.The city held an open house a month ago to seek ideas for the old firehouse.

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