MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Department of Public Works has closed two blocks of Mississippi Drive to traffic as a precautionary measure due to the rising Mississippi River.
The Mississippi River is current at 20.16 feet and is expected to continue to slowly rise before cresting at 20.6 feet on Sunday. Major flood stage at Muscatine is at 20-feet.
Water began to cover Mississippi Drive at the Walnut Street intersection last night and will continue to increase over the next 48 hours.
“This is a precautionary measure as we continue to observe how the reconstructed Mississippi Drive fairs under these conditions,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said. “It is probably safe to say that this closure will last at least a week while the river slowly falls over the next 10 days.”
DPW crews will also be installing the flood barrier at the intersection of Mississippi Drive and Mulberry Avenue later today. The City has already closed Riverside Park as flood waters have reached the railroad roadbed at some points and closed the flood gate on 2nd Street at Mad Creek on Tuesday (Oct. 9).
“The improvements to Mississippi Drive have allowed us to keep the street open for about one foot more of flood elevation which, in this case, is equal to having the road open for an extra two days,” Stineman said on Thursday.
Additional closures are not anticipated and will just depend on the river. The good news is that the Army Corps of Engineers has revised its crest prediction down from 20.9 feet to 20.6 feet. However, any additional rain to the north may change that prediction or extend the duration of the flood.
Floods this late in the year are not common but have occurred at least four other times. The highest crest of a late year flood was recorded on October 7, 1986, at 20.59 feet. A crest of 18.63 feet was recorded on October 3, 2016, and a crest of 18.50 feet was recorded on September 24, 1938. The latest flood stage was reached came on December 26, 2015, when the river crested at 16.19 feet.
DPW crews have been monitoring the effects of the rising river on the reconstructed and recently reopened Mississippi Drive. The reconstruction was aided, in part, by the Canadian Pacific raising the railroad after the 2014 flood. To match that change in elevation and to prevent future closures of Mississippi Drive due to flood waters, the roadway from Iowa to Mulberry was raised nearly a foot.
Before the reconstruction, a flood stage of 18.2 feet would see water start backing out of the storm inlets at Mississippi Drive and Walnut with two lanes covered at 19.2 feet and all four lanes at 19.5 feet.
With the flood gate closed at Mad Creek traffic into downtown Muscatine is detoured from the east to Park Avenue to 5th Street (non-truck traffic or Washington for truck traffic) to Mulberry Avenue. Temporary stop signs have been put in place at the intersection of 5th and Cypress.
For more information, visit Flood Resources on the Public Works page on the City of Muscatine web site.