Weather Forecast


Minn. River waters slowly receding

Waters began pouring over a Stony Run Township road north of Granite Falls on March 22, and grew to cover more than a one-half mile portion of the road. Township officials are waiting for the waters to recede to assess the damage. In 1997, it cost $160,000 to repair the damage, or four times the township's annual road maintenance budget at the time. (Tribune file photo)

MONTEVIDEO -- Life is getting back to normal in areas affected by floodwaters along the Minnesota River during the previous week.

Sanitary sewer service was restored Monday to low-lying areas in Montevideo, including the homes and businesses in the Smith Addition.

Work also got under way on Monday to remove the temporary berm or levee added to a portion of U.S. Highway 212. It's expected to take a couple of days to remove the emergency levee from the highway, according to Montevideo City Manager Steve Jones.

The highway will be reopened as soon as possible, he added.

Floodwaters on the Minnesota River have been receding, but slowly. The waters crested at 20.13 feet on March 22 in Montevideo. They had dropped to 17.99 feet on Monday afternoon.

Once the waters reached the 18-foot level on Monday, the city was able to reopen the sanitary system in the affected areas, Jones said. The city is asking businesses and residents in the area to limit water usage for the next few days.

The National Weather Service is projecting that water levels will continue to drop at a slow rate.

As the waters drop, city officials in both Montevideo and Granite Falls are beginning to add up the costs associated with the flood. The local numbers will be added to costs statewide as part of a request for a presidential disaster declaration and funding assistance for Minnesota.

A preliminary estimate shows that Montevideo's costs associated with the flood will be in the range of $231,500 to $315,000, based on information provided to the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday. The largest costs were for adding temporary material to the Highway 212 and 1969 levees.

In Granite Falls, a preliminary estimate indicates about $60,000 in flood-related costs, according to City Manger Bill Lavin.

Jones and Lavin emphasized that the numbers are only estimates. The high waters make it impossible to know the full extent of damage at this point, and they can only estimate costs for cleanup work yet to be done.

One of the main concerns in the Granite Falls area is how much damage a Stony Run Township road has sustained. Waters from the Minnesota River are pouring over a portion of the township road north of Granite Falls, making it impossible to determine the full extent of damage at this time. The waters top the road and follow a natural overflow channel. The 1997 flood caused approximately $160,000 in damage to the road.

An earlier proposal to build a 1,400-foot-long weir to protect the road and manage water flow to the overflow channel during flood events was estimated to cost $875,000.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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