DUBUQUE, Iowa — The completion of a $60 million project should mean thousands of eastern Iowa residents will no longer need to fear frequent flooding and can enjoy other improvements, including a new trail system.

The City of Dubuque recently completed its Upper Bee Branch Creek restoration project, the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/2ttfNPq ) reported.

Construction began in 2015 and finished about three months early and $800,000 under budget. The project includes a creek and flood plain stretching nearly 2,000-foot (610 meters) that’s intended to mitigate flooding.

“Often, cities look at stormwater problems and immediately conclude, ‘We just need to build bigger pipes and get rid of the water faster,'” said Mark Schouten, Iowa Flood Mitigation Board chairman. “Unfortunately, that approach solves some problems but creates others.”

The city instead created a system that preserves the area’s natural resources, he said.

More than half of the city’s residents live or work within the watershed, which has suffered heavy losses from flooding over the years.

Local resident Audrey Morey said she’s lost a furnace, water heater and personal items in flooding over the years. She said the project “represents a safer and a better life.”

The project also created a trail system, walking paths, scenic overlooks and a play area with slides.

Future plans may increase storm sewer capacity.

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