‘Invisible’ Aluminum Wall Protects Against Spring Floods
Snowmelt and seasonal rains mean one thing as Spring approaches in the upper Midwest: the threat of flooding in the cities and towns that line the region’s major rivers. The Mississippi, Missouri, and Red rivers have all flooded in recent years—and each is a threat to overflow its banks again this year, according to forecasters.
Many communities under threat from spring flooding have a tool of growing importance at their disposal to protect themselves from the rising waters: the Invisible Flood Control Wall (IFCW).
The IFCW is a removable floodwall consisting of layers of connectable aluminum beams that are erected only when flood waters threaten. Once the flood recedes, the wall is easily packed away, leaving a riverfront view without obstruction. The wall is now in use in over 150 cities and towns across the United States.
The IFCW has been analyzed and accepted for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has been installed on a half dozen Corps flood projects. The wall meets all of the Corps’ criteria for floodwalls yet, unlike traditional floodwalls, preserves the beauty of the riverfront rather than obscuring it with a permanent concrete wall or earthen levee.
Easy to Put Up; Easy to Take Down
To construct the wall in the event of an impending flood, the vertical supports are lifted into place and the anchor bolts are secured into the embeds. According to its manufacturer, Flood Control America, in a typical installation three workers can erect 1200 square feet in approximately two hours.
The extruded aluminum planks feature a tongue-and-groove system that enables them to be stacked horizontally, one on top of the other. The aluminum planks weigh five pounds per foot, meaning two workers can easily handle up to 20-foot lengths at a time. No cranes or heavy machinery are required for erection.
One of the ’Seven Wonders of