Gearing up for summer storms - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Gearing up for summer storms

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Summer may still be months away, but in the dead of winter, construction crews are preparing for it.

Summertime often brings with it heavy rains that on occasion send rivers out of control.

Road construction is arguably one of the most stressful things to deal with as a summer driver.  Wednesday though, on one of the coldest mornings of the year, those crews weren't on the roads. They were in the river making sure the flood control project does its job if and when it is tested.

In the middle of winter, the people of Rochester Public Works are thinking of summer. The historic flooding of 1978 came in the middle of the summer, but to make sure the flood control project that was a result of that catastrophic flooding does it job, crews were hard at work in the middle of winter.

"We have a lot of other road projects to do during the summertime, so this fills in real good for this time of year and a lot of times the frost can be your friend," said Doug Buck of Rochester Public Works.

It's that frost from the cold weather that allows the loose sediment to harden up so the heavy machinery doesn't sink in.

Over time as the water flows down the river, especially after those stronger summer storms, sediment begins to build up and that's why we need projects like this to remove that sediment so the water still has a place to go.

 "Just to the bottom of the piers there," Buck said.

That's the highest Buck recalls the water ever being, which happened back in the devastating floods of 2007. 

"Preventative, preventative work is what we're doing," Buck said.  "With all these curves like this slow the water down a little bit and the material falls out of it and the you have smaller projects you can clean up."

 Even if that means working in the bitter cold.

"I've been in Minnesota all my life.  Winter, Summer, I like it all," Buck said.

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