Rain, wind add to Duluth waterfront damage

Sections of boardwalk can be seen ajar near the Vietnam Memorial Wednesday afternoon.

Duluth’s key tourism district suffered addition damage just a year after a similar rain and wind storm left $10 million in wreckage along the Lake Superior shoreline.

“We hadn’t even gotten everything repaired from then,” Interim Chief Administrative Officer Keith Hamre lamented at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

In fact, repair work had just started this week on a Lakewalk segment between the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Fitgers. In one way, that was a blessing, said city Construction Project Supervisor Mike Lebeau. Barriers had already been put in place, which prevented walkers from being hit by waves or debris, he said.

“There’s a bunch of new damage, significant damage. More land was lost behind Fitgers. The asphalt path is caving in. Some boardwalk panels were flipped up, ” he said. As a result, the Lakewalk was closed from the corner by Endion Station to the Leif Erickson Park bridge.

High water forced the closure of the 12thStreet parking lot on Minnesota Point and caused some flooding in Canal Park, on Harbor Drive near the DECC and at Brighton Beach, he added.

Leaves falling from trees, combined with broken tree branches, were clogging some sewers.

Hamre said the city will evaluate damage after the storm passes. He urged people to stay away from flooded areas and not drive around barriers.

“We want to make sure people stay safe. Please observe at a safe distance – we need to be respective of the power of Lake Superior,” he said.