NEW ULM - The Minnesota River flood levee in New Ulm is nearly completed.
Brian Mathiowetz, president of Mathiowetz Construction Co., said the vast majority of work on the massive levee wrapped up on Oct. 31.
The contractor is awaiting the delivery of three sluice gates, which are used to close off storm sewer piping in a flood. Everything else, including the grass seeding of the levee, has been completed. Installation of the sluice gates should only take a few hours.
Staff photo by Josh Moniz
The Minnesota River flood levee in New Ulm is effectively completed after months of work, pending only the installation of three sluice gates. The project took approximately 150,000 cubic yards of clay.
Staff photo by Josh Moniz
A “No Trespassing” sign is posted near the newly constructed levee on the Minnesota River in New Ulm. The levee is built on private property.
"They're specific items that are only really made in one place. You just have to order, and [the company] tells you when you'll get them," said Mathiowetz.
Mathiowetz was pleased with how well construction of the levee project went. No negative incidents occurred during the hauling of 5,300 truck loads of levee materials through the middle of New Ulm. The levee took approximately 150,000 cubic yards of clay.
The levee is 814 feet above sea level, or 2 feet above the 100-year flood mark. It is intended to effectively end the problem of chronic spring flooding for property owners along the Minnesota River. If a flood exceeds the 100-year flood mark, the broad top is designed to allow additional sandbagging.
The need for a levee became apparent after recent floods threatened property with back yards to the river. Although sandbagging and then construction of temporary berms addressed the problem, city officials opted for a permanent solution.
The project is expected to cost $2.26 million, with $1 million covered by a grant through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The remaining cost will be worked out between the City of New Ulm and the affected land owners. The tentative plan is to have the City cover 75 percent of the cost and to assess the remaining cost among the land owners. The City will be finalizing the project in the near future.
City officials are warning people to stay off the levee, because the area is private property of each of the homes. Walking on the levee without permission is consider trespassing on private property, and violators could be subject to potential arrest and fines.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)