Peoria and East Peoria protect riverfronts ahead of flooding

Apr 22, 2013

More than 30-thousand bags of sand make up the flood wall that runs down the middle of Water Street on Peoria’s River Front. It’s part of efforts to keep the Illinois River at bay as it’s expected to reach record highs tomorrow. 

The flood wall is primarily along the stretch of road between Liberty Street and the Bob Michel Bridge. It’s the lowest lying portion of Water Street since the reconstruction of the road two years ago. 

The elevation of Water street was raised and a brick retaining wall was constructed as part of the Museum Square building project. David Haste manages streets and sewers for Peoria. He says this is also the first time the city has built a flood wall like this and it took about 18 hours: 

“We have concrete jersey barriers in the center and on both sides, and on the top we have sandbags. So, it’s weighted down pretty well and we don’t expect any kind of a failure at all, but we will get seepage and that’s really the thing that we’ll have to maintain until the water goes down.”

The river reached more than 28 feet Sunday. It’s expected to crest Tuesday afternoon at a record breaking 30 feet. Those wanting to see the historic river rise are asked to do so at a safe distance not crossing the yellow tape.  

Meanwhile, East Peoria Emergency Management officials say their levee is in good shape. The secondary levees on the North side of Camp Street will likely overflow Monday.

Once the secondary levee is breached in East Peoria, Camp Street is expected to be closed. Camp Street west of River Road was closed Sunday as the river rises about two inches an hour.

East Peoria officials recommend residents be proactive with a plan that includes their pets, and basic supplies. The city also encourages voluntary evacuation, noting if severe flooding occurs, people living in the Richland Farms area and those along the river on Main Street and westward will need to evacuate.

Shelter information and other flood related updates can be found on our website: