Improvements Planned for Flood Walls in Grand Rapids, Michigan

January 14, 2014
Wall

Grand Rapids, Mich., plans to spend $4.2 million to repair and improve its floodwall system, after engineers identified weaknesses exposed by a storm last spring that flooded the Grand River threatened to swamp the city.

The river came close to breaching the city’s flood walls in April. Water flowed in torrents under levees, causing at least $10 million in damage throughout Kent County and causing flooding that forced an estimated 1,700 area residents to leave their homes for higher ground, MLive.com reported.

Some repair work has been done, like fixing a dam observation deck damaged by the water. Gates that close openings in the flood wall to keep water from flowing back into the sewer system also have to be fixed or replaced, said Eric DeLong, Grand Rapids deputy city manager.

Embankments around a wastewater plant also have to be raised.

Meanwhile, the city also is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on an agreement that will allow accreditation for Grand Rapids’ flood walls without a stipulation that they be substantially higher, according to MLive.com and The Grand Rapids Press.

That agreement was being worked on prior to last April’s storm.

FEMA, for years, has said the flood wall system was not high enough, according to MLive.com.

 

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