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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Flood preparations continue at UI; driving not advised near flooded areas

University of Iowa officials continue to advise the public to keep campus and downtown Iowa City roadways open for flood preparations by staying away from flooded areas and not driving on or around campus if at all possible. Streets that most need to be avoided are Iowa, Jefferson, Madison, and Market.

“There’s no need to be near the flood waters unless you are volunteering,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, who attended the UI’s daily flood news briefing on Thursday.

Don Guckert, associate vice president of facilities management, said the UI is getting help from 32 members of the Iowa National Guard to supplement a the dike system on the Iowa River. The Guard and three local construction companies will help install HESCO containers for flood control near the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratory and locations further south along the Iowa River and near the UI Power Plant. The 4-cubic-foot collapsible containers are filled with rock and then put into place.

Guckert said traffic congestion around the Iowa Memorial Union is a challenge to flood preparations when materials to build these barricades need to reach the area.

Guckert also announced that contingency plans are being made to evacuate several campus buildings if basements become flooded. These buildings include the Becker Communications Studies Building, the Adler Communications and Journalism Building, the Lindquist Center, Hydraulics labs, the Engineering Research Facility, Main Library, and the Cambus Maintenance Facility.

Currently, the Main Library will remain open regular hours. Facilities engineers have placed the Main Library on this secondary evacuation list; however Libraries staff has already begun the process of relocating materials from the lower-level storage area to higher levels.

Sandbags are still needed to fill in some areas of the dike, and volunteers are still needed to help fill sandbags at the Iowa Memorial Union and Clapp Recital Hall. Volunteers can walk to the IMU, or if driving, park at Clapp Hall.

Lola Lopes, UI interim executive vice president and provost said summer session classes will continue Friday in buildings that are to be evacuated by 5 p.m. Friday, but those classes will be relocated next week. Students are advised to check ISIS for locations.

UI officials are also making plans for suspending summer classes if utilities fail or it becomes difficult to reach campus. Lopes added that UI athletic and academic camps scheduled for next week will be cancelled.

Related release: (earlier 6-12-08 flood update)