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Erik Burgess, Published May 06 2013

Fargo flood cleanup begins in earnest Wednesday

FARGO – Say goodbye to levees and sandbags, at least for another year. Flood cleanup should begin in earnest here on Wednesday.

The City Commission on Monday awarded multiple bids to local construction firms to tear down temporary levees and remove sandbags from streets and backyards.

City crews pulled sandbag pallets still sitting on the boulevards out of the neighborhoods Monday, said City Administrator Pat Zavoral.

City Engineer April Walker said work also began Monday to remove the earthen levee on Second Street downtown. Earthen levee and TrapBag removal is expected to take eight days, she said.

The Second Street contract was awarded to Master Construction, of Fargo, for $268,780, and also includes removing the earthen levee on Lindenwood Drive and other smaller levees and plugs, Walker said.

A second contract to remove the earthen levee on Oak Street North and other smaller levee extensions and plugs was awarded to Excavating Inc., of West Fargo, for $130,838, Walker said. That work begins Wednesday.

Removal of sandbags from backyards was awarded to Pioneer Excavating and Trucking, from Fargo, and is expected to cost an estimated $40,000, Walker said. She said the contractor is paid an hourly wage and the total price is just a rough estimate.

That work also begins Wednesday, and crews will be in backyards beginning about 8 a.m. each day for 10 to 12 hours until all the bags are gone, Walker said.

“It is more than a day’s work,” she said. “When you’ve got lots of volunteers, you can kinda speed that process up, but when it’s just a contractor with a small crew, it’s going to be multiple days.”

Walker said some homeowners didn’t want crews in their backyards, so they will remove sandbags on their own and place them in the street for pickup.

Excavating Inc. was also awarded an $81,912 contract to remove TrapBag levees on Fifth Street South and Golf Course Road leading to Edgewood Golf Course in north Fargo.

When National Weather Service forecasters predicting a potentially record spring flood, the city of Fargo built clay levees to about 42 feet and threw an estimated 100,000 bags to build sandbag levees up to 40 feet. Not a single sandbag got wet as the flood of 2013 fizzled.

The preliminary crest for the Red was 33.32 feet on May 1, still above the major flood stage of 30 feet, but well within nearly all of Fargo’s permanent flood protection.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518