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High water flooded the walking and bike paths along Minnehaha Creek on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

Bruce Nelson walked his dog Trooper along flooded walking and bike paths along Minnehaha Creek near E. 47th Street and 28th Avenue S. on Sunday in south Minneapolis.

Jerry Holt • jgholt@startribune.com,

High water closes Stillwater Lift Bridge, snarling commuter traffic

  • Article by: Jim Adams
  • Star Tribune
  • June 22, 2014 - 11:24 PM

Rising waters on the St. Croix River will close the Stillwater Lift Bridge Monday, snarling commuter traffic between Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The bridge, which connects Minnesota Hwy. 36 and Wisconsin Hwy. 64, will be raised at 10 a.m. and remain closed to vehicles until water levels drop.

MnDOT also closed two of three lanes on northbound Interstate 35W in Burnsville Sunday afternoon to build a dike against the rising Minnesota River, but all lanes were expected to be open for Monday morning’s rush hour.

About 4 p.m., two MnDOT workers were injured when their truck was struck by a car as they placed traffic cones on 35W. One worker, Ronald McDeid, 43, was listed in critical condition Sunday night at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The forecast was for a chance of more rain and ­thunderstorms Sunday night, mostly before 3 a.m. The National Weather Service predicted a break in the dreary weather for Monday, with partly sunny skies before showers and thunderstorms return Tuesday afternoon.

Storms popped up periodically Sunday, but didn’t appear to cause any new problems around the state, as crews continued sandbagging in northern Minnesota.

“There’s not a lot of change. People are being vigilant,” said Doug Neville, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. He said workers were using concrete barriers in levies built to keep Lake of the Woods out of Warroad.

The International Falls area is starting to relax a bit after 10 days during which hundreds of volunteers filled 300,000 sandbags for dikes to keep Rainy Lake from flooding their homes and resorts, said Rob Ecklund, Koochiching County Board chairman.

He said only about 160 volunteers were sandbagging Sunday, down from 400 to 600 last week. No injuries or lost buildings had been reported, but at least one home had serious damage.

“A majority of the critical areas are shored up. The National Guard is working until about 7 p.m. unloading the last few truckloads” of sandbags, Ecklund said Sunday afternoon. “We have about 13,000 bags ready for [Monday].”

“It’s a huge community effort,” he said. “The volunteers have been tremendous. Without them, this wouldn’t have happened.”

In St. Paul, crews erected a temporary section of flood wall to connect to permanent berms and dike walls at the St. Paul Downtown Airport, closing two shorter runways, but keeping the primary 6,500-foot runway open.

Crews of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) installed the flood wall this weekend across the far southeastern end of the primary runway, sealing off the airfield from the flooding Mississippi River. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the primary runway will stay open, but the landing strip will be shortened from 6,491 feet to 5,341 feet of pavement, MAC said.

In Minneapolis, at the University of Minnesota’s hospital on the West Bank, workers appear to have stabilized a hillside that slid onto West River Parkway Thursday. Spokeswoman Cindy Fruitrail of Fairview Health Services said in an e-mail that mudslide debris was removed Saturday and a geotextile fabric was installed on the hill by cliffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Hospital staff and city engineers checked the barrier after Sunday’s midday rains and said the fabric had redirected rainwater and prevented further erosion.

 

Jim Adams • 612-673-7658

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