WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Cities, Counties Fighting the Rising Mississippi River

May 1, 2019

Burlington Assistant City Manager Nick McGregor said Wednesday afternoon that the community's top priority is to install extensions to the top of its permanent flood wall. He said the extensions would increase the floodwater protection from nearly 23 feet to roughly 28 feet.

“If we don’t get the wall on, none of the rest of it all matters,” said McGregor about the need to add to the flood wall.

McGregor said Burlington’s flood protection effort is a combination of the floodwall and large barricades set up at the northern and southern ends of the structure to protect low-lying areas. He said these barriers have been in place for about a month.

McGregor said city crews are being extra cautious following the breaking of a levy in Davenport this week. That led to businesses being flooded and motorists being stranded. He said the two cities use the same type of barricades.

“They had just one HESCO barrier and I think just the sheer weight of water pushed it open. It had been sitting there a while too… but we have two on the bottom and one on the top so we have three times the mass,” said McGregor.

McGregor said city staff will meet Thursday morning to assess the river level, the projected crest, and the integrity of the flood protection in place to determine if more changes are needed.

Meanwhile, about 20 miles to the south, Lee County has declared a state of emergency due to the flooding on the Mississippi, Des Moines, and Skunk Rivers.

The declaration will make it easier for the county to spend emergency funds and to ask for help from neighboring communities and from the state of Iowa.

Road Closures

The view from above Keokuk's Victory Park. The red oval marks all that remains of the several foot tall cement posts located at the edge of a parking lot next to the river museum.
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR

Keokuk, Iowa

  • Mississippi River Drive

Lee County, Iowa

  • 340th Street (Highway 27 to Argyle Road)
  • 320th Street (Highway 27 to Argyle Road)
  • 245th Avenue (Charleston Road to 235th Street)
  • 263rd Avenue (Highway 61 to 240th Street)
  • Valley Road (Hilton Road to 250th Avenue)
  • Valley Road (250th Avenue to Twin Rivers Drive)
  • 250th Avenue (Valley Road to Hilton Road)
  • Pending – Old Quarry Road in south Augusta

Des Moines County, Iowa

  • Tama Road (East of Highway 99)
  • Tama Road (North of 113th Street)

The view of Fort Madison's Riverview Park from the city's train depot.
Credit https://www.facebook.com/oldfortmadison/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Fort Madison, Iowa

  • 2nd Street (Avenue E to Avenue H)
  • Riverview Drive (in Riverview Park)
  • Marina Drive (in Riverview Park)
  • Avenue I (10th to 12th Streets)
  • 14th Street (Avenue I to Avenue M)

Burlington, Iowa

  • Front Street (west of the post office)

Henderson County, Illinois

  • Carmen Blacktop (Route 34 to Highway 750 North)
  • Oquawka Covered Bridge (off Illinois 164)

Warsaw, Illinois

  • Water Street

Highway 61 between Alexandria, MO and Keokuk, IA.
Credit Clark County Sheriff's Office

Clark County, Missouri

  • Highway 136/61 (Alexandria to Iowa State Line)

Lewis County

  • Route B (north of Canton to Highway 61)
  • Route B (south of LaGrange to Highway 61)

Quincy, Illinois

  • Memorial Bridge (between Missouri and Illinois)