RED WING, Minn. -- The Levee Park project was projected to cost about $6 million and be finished the summer of 2019. The project is not done and is over budget.

Part of the cost is due to adding to the original plan for updating both Levee Park and Vogel Harbor. However, a large portion of the delay and increase in cost has come weather-related woes.

Work had to pause on March 25 due to high river levels. Work couldn't resume until July 3.

The project continued but was slower than planned through September due to change orders and the continuation of high water levels.

The delay and rising costs increased further on Nov. 7 when a river towboat was pushing barges downriver and hit fender stanchions and the Levee Park sheet pile wall, resulting in damage. The change order that included damage was $109,227.70.

Currently, there is no set end date for this project. The estimated project cost, however, is now $8,611,629. About 65% of funding is from grants.

Despite the increase in cost and time, the City Council approved the continuation of the project on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020.

“The floods sure have made a big difference on this project,” Council President Dean Hove emphasized.

The hope, officials said, is that the weather throughout 2020 will allow for the construction to be completed. However, with a changing climate, it is possible that Red Wing will have another wet, flood-filled spring.

Sturgeon Lake Road

The City Council took time Monday to talk about another potential construction project: Sturgeon Lake Road.

Sturgeon Lake is one of the only roads onto Prairie Island, which can make it challenging to go to or leave the island in an emergency. Marshall Hallock, the city's administrative business director, told the council that when public safety vehicles try to enter the island they sometimes have to wait for trains to pass before continuing on to the emergency.

Hallock also pointed to “the trifecta” of things that would require an easy passage off of the island: fires, floods and a nuclear problem since the Prairie Island nuclear plant is also located on the island. Because of this, the city had hoped to build an overpass on Sturgeon Lake Road.

The city did not budget for this project because it was assumed that Sturgeon Lake Road was a likely candidate for funding from the federal BUILD grant. It did not, however, receive federal funding.

The council did not make any final decisions during Monday’s meeting. The members decided to wait to speak with members of the Prairie lsland Tribal Council.