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Benson prepares flood defense

Tom Larson / Tribune The city of Benson has contracted to have an excavator at the ready to remove ice should it jam against the pylons of this BNSF Railway bridge over the Chippewa River on the city's west side. An ice jam could back up water in a residential area with 26 homes.1 / 4
Tom Larson / Tribune The city of Benson has contracted to have an excavator at the ready to remove ice should it jam against the pylons of this BNSF Railway bridge over the Chippewa River on the city's west side. An ice jam could back up water in a residential area with 26 homes.2 / 4
Tom Larson / Tribune The city of Benson has contracted to have an excavator at the ready to remove ice should it jam against the pylons of this BNSF Railway bridge over the Chippewa River on the city's west side. An ice jam could back up water in a residential area with 26 homes.3 / 4
Tom Larson / Tribune The city of Benson has contracted to have an excavator at the ready to remove ice should it jam against the pylons of this BNSF Railway bridge over the Chippewa River on the city's west side. An ice jam could back up water in a residential area with 26 homes.4 / 4

BENSON — The city of Benson is taking steps to prepare for possible flooding along the Chippewa River.

The city has contracted to have a large excavator at the ready to remove ice that could jam on the pylons of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway bridge spanning the river on the city's western edge, according to City Administrator Rob Wolfington.

An ice jam at the bridge could back up water in the Hawleywood subdivision along the golf course. The city has long urged that the bridge with wood pylons be replaced with an open-span bridge.

The city is also prepared to fill 8-foot-by-4-foot containers with sand to use as a flood barrier to protect the residential area if waters rise. There are 26 homes in the area that are vulnerable to flooding.

A private pilot took Mayor Terri Collins and the city administrator on a flight Monday to assess the flood potential in the Chippewa River watershed upstream of the community. The flight confirmed their concerns about the potential for flooding.

Tom Cherveny

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

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