Mayor Larson: April Storm Caused Between $600K-700K In Additional Damages To Duluth Shoreline
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson met the press Monday morning on the Duluth Lakewalk to address not only the extensive damages caused to the shoreline in October, but also the additional damages done by April's storm.
Mayor Larson led her remarks by letting the public know that the Lakewalk is accessible and usable through town, saying "We want people down here. We want tourists to know that this is a space that is open." There are a few sections marked with barricades where the public should use caution, but there are passable routes around the damaged areas. The most notable is a portion of the boardwalk near Fitgers that has been completely blocked off, however the paved bike path is still open for the public.
After the April storm that battered the Lake Superior shoreline for a couple days with powerful waves, crews began assessing the additional damages, comparing this information to their detailed documentation from the October storm to determine that an estimated $600,000 to $700,000 in additional damages occurred during the April storm.
Adding this to the "several millions" in damage done in October is making for an expensive repair project for the city. While cost concerns are in the minds of many, Mayor Larson specifically stated "An element like the Lakewalk is not an option. It is an element of who we are as a community." She went on to reiterate that [not] fixing it is not an option and that it is something the city will be doing.
While the publicly visible damage to the seawall near the DECC and areas like the Lakewalk and Brighton Beach are quite apparent, things like erosion beneath the surface and damage to stormwater drain outlets further compound the work necessary to recover from these two storms. A full assessment of the damage from the April storm has yet to be completed largely due uncooperative weather as well as ice and snow in the way.
The city is in the process of working on requesting aid funding from the state to help in the recovery process from the April storm. Information has been submitted to St. Louis County to continue process of seeking funding from the state.
Mayor Larson explained that one of the key aspects to the repair efforts are to make sure that plans are created that accommodate for Lake Superior's changing shoreline to try to mitigate any future issues. She specifically mentioned plans being worked on for Brighton Beach to not only repair the roadway but prevent future issues.
Beside costs, the looming question among much of the public is how long it will be until repairs are completed. The city is in the process of designing repair plans that take into consideration the long term goal of repairs that can withstand future weather events. Full plans can't be completed until a complete assessment can be done, which is dependent on the weather. Once snow and ice is melted, crews can complete the assessment and finish plans. Design processes are in motion to get the worst damages repaired this summer, but full repair isn't expected to be completed for two construction seasons.
You can watch the full speech in the Facebook video below.