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Work on the new floodwall being built around Iowa American Water’s East River Drive plant in Davenport is about 60 percent complete, an official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

Crews working on the $11.5 million project were able to work later into the winter than usual this year, with abnormally dry conditions and warmer temperatures.

The sudden blast of winter a few weeks ago sent workers off the job, but they were back to it soon afterward.

A 2,200-foot-long floodwall is being built in conjunction with 200 feet of earthen levee to protect the plant, the main source of water in the Iowa Quad-Cities. The work also involves construction of three gatewells and movement of the riverfront recreational path.

Andrew Barnes, the project manager, said more than half the wall is in place. Crews had to make some modifications to avoid underground utilities, but otherwise, the project has been proceeding without surprises.

“They’re probably a couple of months ahead of schedule right now,” he said.

The work is scheduled for completion in November, although that could be pushed up if conditions are right.

That also is after the spring and summer flood season, but Barnes said that even if the Mississippi River goes out of its banks in 2013, what’s been built so far will provide a great deal of protection.

In previous floods, Iowa American contractors have put temporary protection in place. A water company official said they would do so again if the river floods, but fewer barriers would be needed now.

“We are honestly pleased with the progress,” said Lisa Reisen, a spokeswoman. “The wall looks great.”

Valley Construction of Rock Island is the contractor. It is working on a $7.3 million contract.

Workers shut down the riverfront recreational path more than a month ago to work on the project. Although the path isn’t as busy during the winter months, it’s still unclear when it might reopen this spring. It depends on how much work can be done this winter before crews have to stop.

The floodwall is a joint venture of the Corps, the city of Davenport and the privately owned water company. Plans to build a floodwall there gained steam after the 2001 floods. It took several years to acquire funding for the project, most of which is coming from the federal government.

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