DULUTH, Minn. - It's a flood event few will forget.
"It's going to take a long time to clean up after this mess," admits Duluth Mayor Don Ness. "It's widespread."
Public works officials in St. Louis County tell KARE 11 60 roads remain closed and a long list of bridges still need to be assessed. Crews are prioritizing projects based on public safety and if homes are isolated due to roads affected by flooding.
"We re-opened up 30 roads last night," said Jim Foldesi, St. Louis County's highway engineer. "We will be working on some of these projects for months."
The massive wash-outs and sinkholes will likely be the most time consuming projects. The immediate need is clearing out storm drains in the event of more rain, but beyond that the Mayor's primary concern are residents in need.
"I know the streets will get taken care, but thinking about people, through no fault of their own, got hit with this," said Ness following a tour of homes still submerged in the Fon Du Lac area. "There's a lot of damage and we need insurance companies and FEMA to do the right thing and come through."
State and local agencies, along with hundreds of volunteers, are assisting in a recovery effort the mayor calls "an amazing coordination."
"I'm convinced that we'll come back as a stronger community," said Ness. "Because we have gone through this and we've done it together."
Damages to public infrastructure will likely exceed $100 million. Teams from FEMA will be in to assess the damage this week.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)