One day before the busy 4th of July holiday weekend, the city of St. Paul is working to remove a large logjam on the Mississippi River that officials fear could be a threat to public safety. However, it's unclear who will pay for the removal services, according to the Star Tribune.
High water levels and fast river currents have pushed storm-swept trees and debris into a growing pile near the entrance of the St. Paul Yacht Club near Raspberry Island, reports KARE 11.
Rick Larkin, St. Paul's emergency management director, says the city is negotiating with contractors to remove the logjam. He says the cost to break it up could be $15,000 to $25,000, and he believes the Yacht Club and the Minnesota Boat Club, which both benefit from city services, should share the expenses.
The Yacht Club's manager disagrees.
“I’m just very surprised because we know it needs to be done, and we’ve never been responsible for it before,” Yacht Club Manager Roger Anderson told the Star Tribune.
In the last week alone, the size of the logjam has doubled, according to WCCO. and it’s blocking boat access under the Wabasha Street Bridge.
KARE 11 reports that the city of St. Paul decided to get involved when the pileup became a public safety issue, according to St. Paul Parks and Recreation Public Service Manager Brad Meyer. Meyer tells KARE 11 it is becoming an increasing threat to boats docked in the St. Paul Yacht club, and city officials also say it could threaten people who use Harriet Island.
WCCO reports that the city does not believe the integrity of the Wabasha Street Bridge is an issue, but inspectors are out every day watching the situation closely.
Meyer says negotiations with potential contractors are progressing quickly, and that work on breaking up and removing the logjam could begin soon.
State officials have warned that a number of rain-swollen rivers and lakes around Minnesota pose safety dangers for holiday revelers this year.