UPDATE: Cedar Rapids street crews have finished pushing large chunks of ice off of Ellis Boulevard NW, and the entire roadway, closed due to high water and ice jams since Monday, finally reopened Friday.
The water retreated sufficiently from the roadway Thursday to allow crews to begin the reopening process. Road graders, street sweepers and other equipment worked to both scrape the remaining ice from the road and clear off the mud before traffic was allowed along the entire length in front of Ellis Park and the Ellis Boat Harbor.
Cedar Rapids Streets operations supervisor Mike Duffy said there was minimal damage to the roadway itself. Some street signs in the area may have been pushed over by the ice, and parks crews may have to reseed areas along the Cedar River this spring, Duffy said.
With the reopening of the entire length of Ellis Boulevard NW and Otis Road SE, all city roads closed earlier this week due to high water or the ice jam have been reopened.
While Ellis Boulevard itself needed only a cleaning to reopen, the same isn’t true at the Ellis Boat Harbor. The ice did some minor damage to at least a few of the dozens of boat houses permanently anchored there.
The blocks of ice also knocked over some electrical service pole, which will need replacing. A portion of the access road to the boat houses also lost some asphalt.
Unlike the flood of 2008, none of the boat houses anchored at Ellis broke loose and floated downstream. One owner, Larry Hunt, said most of the damage was caused because the ice was unexpected and pushing from a direction that anchoring systems couldn’t accommodate.
He said damage to his boat house could be repaired for under $70, although some owners might have larger bills.
Hunt was grateful the ice wasn’t thicker in the harbor or water might gotten inside the structure and ruined furnishings. He said the water levels resulting from the ice jam probably came within a foot of so of making that happen.