All Cedar Rapids Roads Covered by Ice Now Open, Damage Minimal

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar Rapids street crews have finished pushing large chunks of ice off of Ellis Blvd N.W. and the entire roadway, closed due to high water and ice jams since Monday, has finally reopened.

The water retreated enough on Thursday to allow crews to begin the reopening process. Road graders, street sweepers and other equipment worked to both scrape the remaining ice from the road and clear off the mud before traffic was allowed along the entire length in front of Ellis Park and the harbor.

Mike Duffy, Cedar Rapids Streets Operations Supervisor, said there was minimal damage to the roadway itself.

"We don't anticipate pavement problems. If we did, we'd make sure those were taken care of with pothole patching before we opened the road," Duffy said.

Duffy said it was possible ice could have pushed over some street signs. That was also checked before the road opened. Otis Road S.E. was the last road closed by water or ice to reopen. Traffic returned there Friday afternoon.

While Ellis Blvd itself needed only a cleaning to reopen, the same isn't true at the Ellis Boat Harbor. The ice there did some minor damage to at least a few of the dozens of boat houses permanently anchored. The blocks of ice also knocked over some electrical service poles which will need replacing. A portion of the access road to the boat houses also lost some asphalt.

Unlike 2008, none of the boat houses anchored at Ellis broke loose and floated downstream. One owner, Larry Hunt, said most of the damage was caused because the ice was unexpected and pushing from a direction that anchoring systems couldn't accommodate. He figured the kind of damage to his boat house could be repaired for under $70, although some owners might have larger bills.

Hunt also said he was less worried about any exterior damage and more concerned about water getting inside.

"I was afraid it would get so high it would drag it under and the carpet would get wet along with the floor and drywall. That's what I was worried about. It stopped soon enough so it didn't happen," Hunt said.

Boat house owners said the flood of 2008, that destroyed dozens of boat houses in the harbor, did teach owners lessons about keeping the floating structures secured to shore. Those lessons were applied with the ice jam flooding this week.
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