Lakewalk Escapes Damage after Recent Winter Storm

Project leaders report no extra damage costs after last week's storm.

DULUTH, Minn.- Winds reaching nearly 70 miles per hour battered parts of the Lake Superior shoreline last week. Meanwhile, crews have already spent months restoring Duluth’s lakewalk from previous storms.

But according to officials, the lakewalk escaped any additional damage.

The lakewalk’s project supervisor says they were gearing up to have more damage after this past week’s snowstorm, but the ice on the shoreline actually helped them dodge the bullet.

Storms from the last few years, including one from October 2018 ripped through the lakewalk.

Officials now estimate the cost of the October damage to be as high as $20 million, though they’re still finalizing that number.

Despite last week’s high winds, project supervisors say this time, they got lucky.

“The ice did really protect the shoreline from more damage, the winds started slowly and the ice that was out on, up the lake, moved down this way and piled up,” said Construction Project Supervisor Mike LeBeau.

“It looked to me like it could’ve been a lot worse if this ice hadn’t moved in for us.”

Officials add that due to that protective ice, there was no extra damage costs after this past storm, except for minor cleanup costs.

But they can’t start on the Canal Park side of the lakewalk until the state of Minnesota clears the federal funding claim and other things.

“As part of that process we have to do an archaeological and historical study along the whole shoreline that was affected and that could take months,” said LeBeau.

Phase 1 of lakewalk repair was the concrete wall behind Fitger’s, completed in March.

Officials will be placing bids for Phase 2 during the next week or so, and hopefully start the project later in Spring.

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