Duluth reopens another flood-damaged bridge

Duluth reached another milestone today in its ongoing recovery from last summer’s devastating flooding.

One of the last bridges that was wiped out by rushing floodwaters last June—the Jean Duluth Road bridge spanning the Lester River, northeast of downtown Duluth—was reopened to traffic.

The bridge cost about $1 million to build. Like the vast majority of public infrastructure repairs following the flooding, 80 percent of the tab was covered by the federal government (in this case Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Funds),with state bonding money covering the remaining 20 percent.

Here are some nice before and after photos, along the lines of the dramatic before and after shots Derek Montgomery took of flood damaged areas.

The Jean Duluth Road bridge spanning the Lester River northeast of Duluth was destroyed in the 2012 floods. (June 20, 2012, courtesy of St. Louis County)


A new $1 million bridge on Jean Duluth Road over the Lester River opened on June 27, 2013, one year and one week after it was destroyed by flooding. (June 27, 2013, courtesy of St. Louis County)

That leaves just one major road in St. Louis County—Haines Road—that’s still closed due to flood damage. Elsewhere, one major project still remaining is a $2.86 million bridge on Highway 210 in Jay Cooke State Park. The state Department of Transportation anticipates that project will be finished in November, although the highway between Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood and the park will remain closed indefinitely.

The recovery process has been much slower for some private homeowners. Many are still struggling to piece together funding to repair their flood-damaged homes.