St. Louis Co. Celebrates End of Flood Repairs

End of Flood Repairs Celebrated in St. Louis County

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“The final reconstruction of Highland Street in West Duluth will mark the completion of all 2012 flood repairs for St. Louis County,” St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg said.

It is milestone worth celebrating after floodwaters ripped into Highland Street.

“The Keene’s culvert and slopes had nearly washed away,” Duluth Public Works director Jim Foldesi said. “Significant roadway and storm sewer damage was inflicted by the waging waters.”

Three years and $12 million later the reconstruction is the second largest single project for St. Louis County.

It is now completely open to traffic.

“This highway that we’re going by is going to be safer,” Representative Mary Murphy (DFL) Hermantown said. “We at least know now which lane we’re supposed to be in.”

One point five miles of County State Aid Highway was rebuilt, the road was widened for safer parking and a sidewalk was added.

“It makes a real nice connection between the neighborhoods in West Duluth up to Skyline,” said Foldesi.

At 183 feet, a record breaking concrete bridge now crosses Keene Creek replacing a flood damaged culvert.

“The bridge that’s along here is the largest single span bridge in the state of Minnesota,” said Dahlberg.

Underneath the bridge accommodations for the Superior Hiking Trail were added along with a new trail access parking lot.

“We saw online that it was open and we decided to come up here and check it out,” mountain biker Alyssa Lommel said.

Including the Highland Street project crews repaired 843 sites that were damaged by the flood throughout St. Louis County.

“Hundreds of culverts were replaced and hundreds of wash outs were repaired, bridges were replaced,” said Foldesi.

Repairs are complete but there is still work needing to be done.

“We continue to learn from our experience and are working to minimize the chance of future devastation,” said Foldesi.

Project officials say they are working with a number of agencies to identify weaknesses in infrastructure and watersheds.

Reconstruction for both Haines Road and Highland Street were the highest profile flood projects, taking up $25 of the $50 million spent on repairs.

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