Duluth zoo, infrastructure bouncing back after 2012 flood

10:50 PM, Jun 20, 2013   |    comments
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DULUTH, Minn. - Thousands of people poured in to the Lake Superior Zoo Thursday, one year after flood waters wiped out one-third of the facility.

"In some ways it's been a long road back," said Peter Pruett, the zoo's operations director. "We still think about what we lost and it has nothing to do with the facilities or money."

The flood took with it several structures on the property, but also washed away 11 barnyard animals and three birds. Zoo-goers laid flowers near the place where those animals used to live Thursday.

The zoo offered free admission as a way to say "thank you" to the thousands of volunteer hours that helped bring the zoo back to life.

"This community supported us and it's awesome," said Pruett.

Work continues at the zoo and across the region, too. The fast-moving water crippled infrastructure in Duluth requiring a massive repair effort.

"We've estimated 17 million dollars in damage," says Cari Pedersen, Duluth's transportation engineer. "There was damage to roads, bridges, and culverts."

In all city engineers say there were 600 damaged sites. Today, they are 90 percent complete with the work.

"I'm very satisfied with what we've done," says Pedersen. "We will look at what we can learn from this and look at our designs."

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