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Fargo Steps Up Flood Protection Efforts - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Steps Up Flood Protection Efforts

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UPDATED: 04/18 5:00 p.m.

One day after the release of a new flood outlook showing the potential for the Red River to crest at record-breaking levels, flood preparations are stepping into overdrive.

Fargo city leaders say now is the time to act, with the crest only being a couple weeks away.

Sandbag Central opened its doors once again Thursday morning. Students filed off buses one-by-one ready to man the stations.

"I've been doing this since 8th grade, so it just seems sorta natural," says Ashlee Wiebe, a Fargo North senior. Another Fargo North senior, Tyler Ibach, says, "Not having to take finals, that's always nice."

The goal this time is 500,000 more sandbags. That would bring the total to 1.8 million, enough to build protections to 43 feet. City leaders hope to reach that by next Tuesday.

They feel it is doable after the first go around.

Fargo Enterprise Director Bruce Grubb says, "We had hoped for 100,000 sandbags a day to be able to produce a million in 10 days. What we ended up doing about 125,000 on an average day."

Fargo previously made 1,081,600 sandbags in their first run, exceeding their initial goal of 1,000,000 bags. The city will split half those bags with Cass County, but all bags produced in this second run will stay with Fargo unless Cass County asks for more.

Flood efforts are also ramping up elsewhere in the city.

Crews began demolishing eight city-owned homes in the Oak Creek neighborhood in South Fargo to build a clay levee.

City Engineer April Walker says, "We don't know when the deterministic is coming out, but we think we should get moving, and we were authorized to go ahead and do that."

The decision to go ahead with this, however, was split. "We feel we could've gotten through this flood quite easily with the TrapBags," says City Commissioner Brad Wimmer.

Originally, TrapBags were to be installed protecting to 43 feet. A combination of the new weather forecast, the most recent snow and the flood outlook from the National Weather Service became game changers.

"If the flood gets to be 40, 41, 42 feet, it's going to turn out to be a very good decision. And a prudent decision," says Wimmer.

Although some may not agree, city leaders say now it is more than saving a few homes, the big picture is that the entire city needs to be saved.

Habitat for Humanity is salvaging anything it can from the Oak Creek homes.

It is expected to take five to seven days to demolish all of them. From there, the levee will be built.

This is just the beginning of increased flood fighting efforts.

Monday crews will begin building clay levees, running 24 hours a day. Between Tuesday and Wednesday sandbags will start to be delivered to neighborhoods. Thursday and Friday, the City plans to call for volunteers to help place the sandbags.

Volunteers are mainly needed in the afternoon and evening at Sandbag Central. To volunteer call 701-476-4000.

Sandbag central is located at The Division of Solid Waste, 2301 8th Ave. N. in Fargo.

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