Public Works Crews Fall behind on Annual Work as Storm Repairs Continue

By Jill Kasparie, KCRG-TV9

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Storm cleanup is starting to feel never-ending for Cedar Rapids city workers.

Crews are still making repairs and picking up debris from severe weather last month.

Storms ripped through eastern Iowa on June 29 and 30 causing flash flooding. In Cedar Rapids, raging waters flooded homes, destroyed streets and ripped up trees.

Workers have their hands full. Especially after a long winter and strong summer storms, crews can’t seem to catch a break.

“It was like man you don’t want to step on nothing, like it’s just going to just fall in. It’s like no one goes down there,” said Cedar Rapids Resident Tim Beard.

Beard has quite the site to see on the street next to his house. The storm caused the roadway to crumble.

“I’ve never seen nothing like this. It was like a landslide as the street was going – disappearing,” Beard said.

That’s just one of many areas of town that need attention from public works crews.

“Yep, Yep. We are. Between storm water work and sanitary activity we are pretty swamped,” said Cedar Rapids Construction Crew Leader Mike Leaven.

“We are behind,” said Public Works Maintenance Manager Craig Hanson.

In fact, Hanson said the list of sewer, forestry and street needs continues to grow.

“We are still finding stuff. We are looking at some of the items that were reported,” Hanson said.

That means his list of projects that won’t get done is also growing.

“Some of the other projects that we would have done for paving for progress - from the maintenance side - won’t be able to be done,” Hanson said.

He said many roads need to be painted. Stripes are faded or non-existent. Crews will also only do about half the amount of crack sealing.

“It means that those roads will degrade faster. You will get more potholes in the future. By doing less seal coating this summer, it’ll impact us so that it means that through the winter you will have rougher roads,” Hanson said.

While crews rush around, people like Tim, are hoping workers get to his street sooner rather than later.

“I understand that your work load can be heavy. I mean, you have to do what you have to do. But you can at least let the people know that this is ok and we are going to get to it,” Beard said.

Hanson said, so far, the cleanup bill from the past month is at about $2 million and growing.

Public works said it would prioritize street projects based on a number of items including residential access, drivability and proximity to schools.

l Comments: 319-398-8268; jill.kasparie@kcrg.com

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