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Published April 05 2011

Sandbag delivery under way, won’t take as long as expected

FARGO – Twenty-eight trucks with police escorts began hauling thousands of sandbags to flood-threatened Fargo neighborhoods this morning, in what’s expected to be a shorter delivery process than originally planned.

Convoys of four to five trucks at a time started lining up at 6 a.m. and rolled into south Fargo neighborhoods during the morning rush hour.

Fargo Public Works Director Ben Dow, who was in the Oak Creek neighborhood to help coordinate the effort, said the delivery process was originally expected to take four days but now will probably be done by noon Wednesday.

That’s because the city decided Monday night to lower its protection level from 43 feet to 41 feet after the National Weather Service indicated the Red River may top out between 38 and 40 feet, a range that doesn’t account for precipitation that may fall in coming days.

The lower level of protection will require 500,000 to 600,000 sandbags, compared to about 1.5 million sandbags needed to protect to 43 feet and 800,000 needed to protect to 42 feet, Dow said.

Volunteers will start building sandbag dikes Wednesday and hopefully wrap up by Friday, he said.

The Red River is forecast to reach 39 feet in Fargo-Moorhead by early Monday. It stood at 27.5 feet at 8:15 a.m. today.

Scott Seibel of Fargo, whose flatbed truck was loaded with about 2,400 sandbags at the warehouse next to Savers on 38th Street South, said he expects to haul sandbags for 12 to 15 hours today.

“I’m a farm boy. I’m used to those days,” he quipped.

Seibel, a driver for Fargo Truss Systems Inc. who also delivered sandbags during last year’s flood fight, said he was looking forward to the work as building hasn’t picked up yet this spring.

“It’s kind of fun,” he said. “It’s something different.”

Sandbags are being delivered today to Harwood Groves, River Drive, Copperfield Court, River Villi and Oak Creek. Delivery will continue in neighborhoods to the north through tomorrow.