Duluth: Storm caused estimated $18.4M in damage

Waves pound the shoreline at Split Rock State Park.
Waves pound the shoreline at Split Rock State Park Oct. 10, 2018 as a strong fall storm affects northern Minnesota.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

The city of Duluth estimates that a storm earlier this month caused $18.4 million in damage to public infrastructure along the Lake Superior shore.

The city released that estimate on Friday, a little over a week after the Oct. 10 storm brought winds of more than 60 mph and sent huge waves crashing ashore. The St. Louis County Board is set to consider a state disaster declaration request at its meeting on Tuesday.

The estimate includes damage to:

  1. The Lakewalk from Canal Park to Leif Erikson Park

  2. Brighton Beach

  3. A section of seawall near the Minnesota Slip pedestrian bridge

  4. Sidewalks along the harbor near the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center

  5. 12th Street beach access on Park Point

    The storm also caused erosion of the shoreline behind the city's Lakewood Water Treatment Plant, among other damage. The city said the damage estimate may change as additional assessments are completed.

    "We are fully committed to not only restoring these assets back to their original state but to ensure that they are rebuilt to resiliency standards to withstand future storms," Keith Hamre, the city's acting chief administrative officer, said in a news release.

    The damage from the Oct. 10 storm is on top of damage caused by storms in October 2017, and again in April of this year. Repairs of that damage were underway when last week's storm hit and caused additional damage.

    The county board must request a state disaster declaration, which is then reviewed by the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and must be approved by the governor. The damage in Duluth also meets the financial threshold for a federal disaster request, which must be requested by state officials.

    Duluth "will make an appeal to the governor to consider pursuing federal aid for its recovery efforts," the city said in a news release.

    City crews have been working to reopen parts of the damaged lakeshore trails and parks. As of Friday, the city reported that a temporary Lakewalk path in Canal Park should reopen by the end of next week, along with a temporary sidewalk behind the DECC and vehicle access to Brighton Beach.

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