Nearly a year after last summer's historic flooding, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will begin building a bridge on Monday to span a huge washout in Jay Cooke State Park.
Last June, a huge wall of water cascaded downhill from Forbay Reservoir near Thomson, cleaving Highway 210 in two. The highway also washed out in two other places in the park, forcing it to close for several months.
MnDOT repaired two of the washouts last year. The new bridge will span a gully about 60 feet deep and 370 feet across, said MnDOT construction engineer Brian Larson.
"We're actually going from a small culvert to a three-span bridge in this location," Larson said. "So this is the largest of the three washouts."
Tom Lund, the project supervisor for MnDOT, explained the plans: "That's going where there was just a small culvert before. But due to the washout, such a huge amount of earth was removed, it seemed to make better sense to fit a bridge in there than backfill the entire area."
The agency will hold a public meeting on the project Tuesday night in Carlton. Minnesota Power will also provide an update on plans to repair flood damage at the Forbay reservoir and hydropower facilities.
The $2.86 million project will be completed by the end of October, Lund estimated.