Traffic on Davenport's East River Drive is temporarily detoured as Langman Construction Inc., Rock Island, executes a $237,914 contract to remove two medians with trees and flowers that were installed in 2010 between Iowa and Perry streets.
A total of 12 medians were built in the middle of East and West River Drive under a $1.4 million initiative called the Front Porch Parkway project that was meant to calm traffic and beautify the downtown/riverfront streetscape.
The concrete medians — sometimes called planters or dividers — were paid for with city and Iowa Department of Transportation funds, according to a news release from the city.
But it was determined after record Mississippi River flooding this spring that the two easternmost medians pose an obstruction to putting in beefed-up flood protection in the future, Nicole Gleason, public works director, has said.
Benefits of removing them include the ability to set the temporary flood barrier on a more optimal part of the road and fill it with sand faster, she has explained.
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The two medians are largely gone now, but work remains, with East River Drive expected to remain detoured until mid-December, pending weather conditions.
Of the one-mile stretch of medians that was installed between Iowa to Marquette street nine years ago, 10 still remain, but one is shorter than it was originally.
Some months after the medians initially went in, the owner of the Sara Mini Mart/Shell gasoline station at Marquette Street complained that his business was down nearly 50% because people traveling east couldn't turn in.
The city council agreed to insert a change order into a West River Drive resurfacing project going on at the time to remove a 230-foot section of the median. The work ended up costing $49,200, according to Quad-City Times archives.