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Moorhead super dike in place

One Moorhead homeowner called them a godsend. City officials said a critical stretch of the city's flood defenses would have been hurting without them. "I'm shocked and very pleased," said Moorhead City Engineer Bob Zimmerman, referring to what g...

Moorhead
Sandbaggers form a line about 150 yards long Tuesday along the Horn Park dike near Rivershore Drive in south Moorhead. The volunteers are building the current dike up another 2 feet to make it stand at 42 feet. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

One Moorhead homeowner called them a godsend.

City officials said a critical stretch of the city's flood defenses would have been hurting without them.

"I'm shocked and very pleased," said Moorhead City Engineer Bob Zimmerman, referring to what groups of student volunteers accomplished Tuesday.

What the students and other workers did was to link dozens of private sandbag dikes together to form a continuous line of defense nearly three miles long, from Horn Park to approximately 40th Avenue South.

Joel Witthoeft, whose family lives at Rivershore Drive and 37th Avenue South, said Moorhead's super dike wouldn't have been possible without the help of student volunteers.

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"With the incorporation of the eighth-graders today, we really noticed the difference. Just having one more grade got people here earlier," Witthoeft said.

Among the volunteers who poured into Moorhead on Tuesday were firefighters from cities as nearby as Hawley and as far away as the Twin Cities, said Rich Duysen, Moorhead's fire marshal.

Officials hoped the unprecedented dike system in south Moorhead would be completed Tuesday night.

Even so, Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said the city is counting on volunteers coming back for a final push today.

"With a strong turnout, we can stay ahead of this," said City Manager Michael Redlinger, adding the city will need workers today to make sure dikes get built to 42 feet to protect against a possible crest of 41 feet.

Officials asked residents Monday to cut back on water use, and the plea was repeated Tuesday as the city's sanitary sewer system continued to run at capacity.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

Related Topics: MOORHEAD
I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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