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The federal government will grant Cedar Rapids $56.4 million to replace the Eighth Avenue Bridge



Cedar Rapids, Iowa – The 8th Avenue Arc of Justice Bridge Replacement Project received a $56.4 million federal grant, which the City of Cedar Rapids announced on Friday. The city described the grant as a historic accomplishment that will shield the city from the 2008 floods.

In a press statement, Cedar Rapids Communications Division Manager Phillip A. Platz stated that obtaining the extremely competitive award was the outcome of years of arduous work and perseverance, following the submission of multiple applications that were rated as “highly recommended” or “recommended.”

As part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary funding Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the funding on Friday.

The financing will enable the City’s Flood Control System to replace the 8th Ave. bridge across the Cedar River.

“This project holds significance for the entire community. I am incredibly proud of the team effort. Our perseverance has paid off,” said City Manager Jeff Pomeranz. “This Federal funding award is an acknowledgment of the importance of the Flood Control System in Cedar Rapids and the effectiveness of the City’s approach.”

The city expressed gratitude to the following legislators and community leaders for their efforts over the years to push funds for the project:

• Senator Joni Ernst
• Senator Charles Grassley
• Representative Ashley Hinson
• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
• The Biden Administration
• Past and present Cedar Rapids City Council members
• City lobbyists and grant writers
• The many businesses, residents, and community partners who demonstrated their support for the project and have served as a voice on the need for funding

“This award is a testament to the power of nonpartisan collaboration and a longstanding commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse population,” said Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell. “As severe weather events intensify, the Arc of Justice Bridge will stand as a symbol of our work to shape a future where every community member can thrive.”

The new Arc of Justice Bridge is planned to be elevated 15 feet higher than the existing 8th Ave. bridge, so it’s higher than the flooding peaks we saw in 2008. It’ll require fewer piers in the river, and incorporates several key features to make sure the bridge is durable and accessible during flood conditions, providing an important route for Flood Control System deployment and ensure travel and emergency medical access.

The project includes streetscaping, lighting, four traffic lanes, two shared-use paths/bike trails (one on each side), and connections to the Cedar River Trail.

Hundreds of Cedar Rapids residents have weighed in on the plan since the project became eligible for Iowa Flood Mitigation funds in 2016, and design plans began in 2018 using the community’s input.

Right now, the project is about 30% designed, but the new funding is expected to speed up the process.

The city says it’s been actively updating environmental clearance documents in preparation for construction.

The new federal grant will cover 80% of project costs, totaling $56.4 million, while the city will have to cover the other 20% which will be funded through General Obligation Bonds and Iowa Flood Mitigation funds. A $1 million grant from the Iowa DOT’s City Bridge Program will also go towards the bridge project.

Construction is set to start in 2027, and is expected to take about three years, coordinating with the existing West Side Flood Control System and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ East Side project.

The city said the East Side project is expected to finish construction in 2026. As a critical component in operating and maintaining the Flood Control System, the bridge’s completion is necessary for final certification of the East Side Flood Control System.

Several flood control projects are complete with several more underway. There is still a need for funding to complete the entire permanent Cedar River Flood Control System. For more detailed information on the system, visit

The proposed elevation of the new Arc of Justice Bridge will surpass the 2008 flooding maxima by 15 feet over the current 8th Ave. bridge. In order to ensure that the bridge is strong and usable during flood conditions, it will require fewer piers to be built in the river. It also includes numerous essential features that guarantee travel and emergency medical access, as well as an essential path for the deployment of flood control systems.

In addition to four traffic lanes, two shared-use paths/bike trails (one on each side), lighting, landscaping, and links to the Cedar River Trail are also included in the project.

Since the project became eligible for Iowa Flood Mitigation monies in 2016, hundreds of Cedar Rapids citizens have provided feedback on the concept. Design plans were started in 2018 based on community input.

Although the project is now only around 30% developed, the additional financing should expedite the process.

To get ready for the building, the city claims to have been aggressively upgrading environmental clearance documentation.

Eighty percent of the project expenditures, or $56.4 million, will be covered by the new federal grant; the remaining twenty percent will need to be paid for by the city using funds from Iowa Flood Mitigation and General Obligation Bonds. The bridge reconstruction will also benefit from a $1 million funding from the Iowa DOT’s City Bridge Program.

With coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ East Side project and the current West Side Flood Control System, construction is scheduled to begin in 2027 and last for approximately three years.

The East Side project is anticipated to be completed by 2026, according to the city. The bridge’s completion is required for the East Side Flood Control System’s ultimate certification because it is an essential part of the system’s operation and upkeep.

Numerous flood control projects have been finished, while numerous others are in progress. Funding is still required to finish the permanent Cedar River Flood Control System in its entirety. For further in-depth details regarding the system, go to