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June 19, 2014: A mudslide on West River Road threatens the Fairview Hospital on the West Bank.

Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

Mudslide shuts down part of West River Parkway

  • Article by: Mary Lynn Smith
  • Star Tribune
  • June 20, 2014 - 10:06 AM

A mudslide below the University Minnesota Medical Center on the Mississippi River’s west bank narrowly missed two motorists on Minneapolis’ West River Parkway on Thursday night and forced that part of the road to be closed.

Minneapolis firefighters said no one was injured and the hospital buildings are safe.

The slide, which occurred about 7 p.m., sent a 100-yard swath of the hill, including trees and brush, onto the road and into the river, said Deputy Fire Chief Todd White. The slide’s force also sent pieces of the road into the river and left 6 to 8 feet of mud on the parkway, he said.

The road between Franklin Avenue and Fourth Street likely will remain closed for a few days until the debris can be cleared, White said. “There’s no passage through there on foot or bike or car,” he said.

The concern is that “it’s still wet and still unstable,” White said. “We’re worried there will be more erosion and more mudslides, which is why we cordoned off the area.”

As a precaution, firefighters evacuated about 20 people from the medical center building closest to the mudslide. The building — the old St. Mary’s Hospital — is used primarily as offices, said hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Amundson.

Authorities examined the building and deemed it, and nearby storage for oxygen tanks, safe, White said. “The building is built on bedrock and shale,” he said.

Mudslides Thursday night also closed a part of Highway 13 between Interstate 35E and Cherokee Heights Boulevard in Mendota Heights and eastbound Interstate 494 near  Highway 62. 

 

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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