Fargo and Moorhead expect to hit 1.5 million sandbag goal todayby Kate Smith, Minnesota Public Radio,
Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — City officials in Fargo and Moorhead planned Wednesday to wrap up efforts to fill sandbags and deliver them to flood-prone areas.
Fargo officials said they have finished with the major projects to put up temporary levees, and volunteers are now working in neighborhoods on smaller sandbag walls to protect homes and subdivisions from the rising Red River.
The city expected to hit its goal of 1 million sandbags filled sometime Wednesday. Moorhead expected to have about 500,000.
In many areas, the work has gone more smoothly than last year, because prepared sandbags were delivered to neighborhoods on pallets all ready to be deployed.
But Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said even when all the levees and dikes are up, the work won't be finished. He said even after the river reaches its crest, officials will need to make sure levees hold if the water stays high.
"It'll sit there and hesitate up there for two or three days before it actually starts its drop, so we need to continue our vigilance and maintaining everything," he said.
A crest between 37 and 39 feet is predicted for sometime Sunday, and Walaker said people need to watch for breaks or leaks in the levees and dikes when the water reaches that point.
Many other factors could affect the crest, including other rivers and streams that feed into the Red.
Mark Bittner, Fargo's city engineer, said officials are keeping a close eye on the Wild Rice River south of Fargo-Moorhead.
"As the two crests come closer together there's more risk," Bittner said. "Right now the crest on the Wild Rice does seem to be lagging a couple of days behind the Red, and we need to keep monitoring that."