Public Works prepares for potential flooding; reminds people to report unsafe road conditions

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Public Works Department  • Richard H. Hansen Transportation & Public Works Complex
4787 Midway Road, Duluth, MN 55811 • Phone: (218) 625-3830

James T. Foldesi, P.E.
Public Works Director/Highway Engineer



March 12, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Ross Benedict, Engineering and Maintenance Supervisor



Public Works crews prepare for possible flooding 

With all of St. Louis County under a flood watch due to melting snow and forecast rain, the Public Works Department is working to minimize the impact of flooded roads. At particularly high risk are areas near culverts that are filled with ice and snow. Water is unable to flow through the blocked culvert and instead fills the nearby ditch and spills over onto the road.


St. Louis County Public Works has approximately 20 culvert steamers loaded and ready for use county wide. The steamers use a hose and high pressure to spray hot water at blocked culverts. The nozzle on the hose can be pulled through the ice, creating a hole. Once water is able to flow through, the hole will continue to widen for better drainage.


Sign crews are also ready to post signs as needed warning of roads that are closed or have water on them.


Public Works crews are monitoring roads throughout the County, however motorists should remember that conditions and water depth can change rapidly. Anyone who encounters a dangerous road condition is asked to call 9-1-1.


Culvert Steamer

St. Louis County Public Works has culvert steamers ready to go in an effort to minimize flooding from rapidly melting snow and forecast rain.