IIW

Aesthetics Are Essential to Bee Branch Creek Restoration

As the City of Dubuque, Iowa, launched its flood mitigation project, the largest capital improvement project in its history, residents and the City focused on how a watershed solution could also serve as a catalyst for neighborhood reinvestment and revitalization. Through many public meetings, it became clear residents were not only concerned about eliminating devastating flooding; they wanted amenities that would support a sustainable neighborhood with enhanced quality of life.

Bee Branch project Photos by Mark Hirsch Photography LLC
Bee Branch project Photos by Mark Hirsch Photography LLC

Since 2008, IIW, P.C. has been engaged as the project manager, architect, and structural engineering consultant for both the Lower Bee Branch and Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration. The design takes former industrial, commercial, and residential properties and creates an open waterway with a linear park – complemented by highly-visible bridge, culvert, and overlook structures, a recreation green space and trail, outdoor amphitheater, a community orchard, and playground equipment.

IIW’s use of 3D modeling and animation helped residents and the City gain an authentic understanding of the project’s impact, allowing for important input prior to finalizing the design.

The architectural and structural design includes several bridges to provide vehicular and pedestrian passage over the waterway. The bridges incorporate standard, continuous concrete-slab construction with innovative, precast façade-panel enhancements to give the illusion of a series of limestone arches.  Creative application of an open-barrier rail system and custom railing panels embossed with the street name were also incorporated.

The flood mitigation project will protect over 1,300 homes and businesses from frequent and severe flash flooding to prevent an estimated $582 million in flood damage over its 100-year design life. Not to mention, the project has the added value of improving water quality and property values and stimulating investment.

This is a massive project in terms of size and complexity. Work continues in 2016 on the Upper Bee Branch portion. Photos from a September walking tour chart its progress.

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