The City of Dubuque’s Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project was the largest capital improvement project in the City’s history, serving as both a watershed solution and a catalyst for neighborhood reinvestment and revitalization.
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.
The Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project includes two distinct sections, Lower Bee Branch and Upper Bee Branch.
The Upper Bee Branch portion was designed to take on storm water during rain events and move it safely through the area without flooding adjacent properties. It includes a 2,300-foot long landscaped creek and green space that accommodates low intensity recreational use, including a multi-use trail system, a play area with slides, scenic overlooks, an urban orchard and garden, and an outdoor amphitheater which provides a venue for teaching and neighborhood gatherings.
The Upper Bee Branch bridges span the flowing creek providing horizontal and vertical clearance for a multi-use recreational trail beneath. The bridges were seen as an opportunity to create a “gateway” experience for travelers at the street level to send a message they were entering something unique and special. This was the driving force behind incorporating the planters with pedestrian viewing and seating areas and open railings.
The Bee Branch flood mitigation project protects 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.
IIW served as the project manager, architect, and structural engineering consultant for both the Lower Bee Branch and Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration projects.