The city of Fargo closed roads near the Red River Monday and began building temporary levees to prepare for spring flooding.
April Walker, Fargo's city engineer, said the city is kicking flood efforts into high gear this week. The National Weather Service predicted Monday that the river will reach major flood stage this weekend.
"The intention is to get as much done in a managed fashion so that it's not, I don't want to say Armageddon, but it's not as hurried as we were in ... 2009," she said.
In 2009, the Red River hit a record 40.8 feet at Fargo-Moorhead and caused millions of dollars in damage. The NWS is forecasting a crest this year between 38 and 42 feet.
Crews are working 24 hours a day to build about 7 miles of temporary clay levees and 5.5 miles of sandbag dikes to protect homes and business.
The city is also using trap bags — connected heavy plastic bags filled with dirt — in some areas to avoid closing important roads. Trap bags take up less space than traditional earthen levees.
But engineer Rob Hasey with the city of Fargo said they still prefer to use clay.
"We know it's a solid material to build dikes out of and it's readily available around here," Hasey said.
The city needs fewer temporary flood measures this year because some of the levees from previous flood fights have been made permanent and hundreds of homes have been moved away from the river.
"We're a lot more prepared," Walker said.