Three years later, county finishes flood repairs in Duluth

The rebuilding of Highland Street is complete.
St. Louis County has completed a $12 million rebuild of Highland Street in Duluth, the final construction project in the county's three-year effort to repair infrastructure damaged by devastating floods in northeast Minnesota in 2012.
Dan Kraker | MPR News

More than three years after flash floods tore through northeast Minnesota, St. Louis County celebrated the completion of its final flood-related repair project.

The county wrapped up a $12 million road and bridge project on the steep hillside above western Duluth. The project included rebuilding 1.5 miles of County State Aid Highway 89, and a new 183-foot bridge over Keene Creek, the longest single span bridge in the state.

About $50 million was spent on flood repairs in St. Louis County, most of it federal and state funding, said Jim Foldesi, the county's director of public works.

"We have 843 damage sites that were repaired, involving approximately 1400 miles of our 3000-mile road system," he said.

In addition, 20 bridges were replaced and 54 others repaired. Hundreds of culverts and washouts were also fixed.

The state set aside $167.5 million in emergency funding to pay for flood repairs. The Minnesota Department of Transportation still has one major flood repair project remaining. It expects to complete a new two-mile, $21-million section of Highway 210 through Jay Cooke State Park by October 2016.

The city of Duluth has finished the vast majority of flood-related repairs but is still trying to secure additional funding to help restore streams that were badly damaged during the flood.

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