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Janell Cole, Published March 26 2009

Water levels dropping on Missouri River; Bismarck breathing sigh of relief

BISMARCK--The explosives expert who oversaw successful blasting on the Missouri River ice jam south of Bismarck compared it to popping a champagne bottle's cork.

Now, with the river having dropped 3 feet since Wednesday afternoon, residents of the flooded south Bismarck development known as Fox Island were allowed back in this afternoon to see if their homes had been damaged. This morning, residents of another riverside development, Southport,had been let in. Mobile home courts were about to be opened up, city official said.

Eric Kelly of Post Falls, Idaho, said the two blasts on Wednesday worked.

His company, Advanced Explosives Demolition Inc., set off two explosions in the ice Wednesday, working with the Army Corps of Engineers, National Guard and city and state officials, considered doing a third blast today.

It wasn’t necessary, Kelly said. The river water that had been held up by an ice jam is flowing nicely to the south and Bismarck-Mandan officials said they can now take the flooding danger on a day-by-day basis.