St. Paul requests state funding for flood prevention

St. Paul officials are asking for a big bump in state funding for flood prevention, saying the city has used emergency measures in the Lowertown neighborhood at least six times since 2000--with the most recent instance from 2014.

This April may look a little snowy, but with increased precipitation and snow melt may come flooding that the city's Public Works Department says is getting harder to stop. At some point, engineers say, the use of temporary earthen levees, sandbags and road closures won't be enough to stop the flow of water from impacting a highly populated and heavily trafficked area, and city leaders are hoping to have a better system in place before that happens.

Their plan is called the Lowertown Flood Damage Reduction Project and is centered around "building permanent floodwalls, levees and closure structures along the Mississippi River," a series of upgrades they say will actually save the state money by preventing St. Paul from needing temporary funding every time a flood threatens the city.

In all, they're requesting $9.5 million in state funding to complete the project, which would also include a sewer upgrade and improvements to the 3rd Street Kellog Bridge between Lowertown and the East Side.

The project, however, will have to wait for at least a few more weeks for approval until the legislature returns from its holiday recess.