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Repairs to Duluth's flood-damaged Seven Bridges Road are underway

Tim Greer of Alborn uses an excavator to pull tree stumps along Seven Bridges Road on Friday. (Bob King /

There has been a long trail of paperwork to get to this point, but work began this week that will eventually lead to the re-opening of Seven Bridges Road along Amity Creek in eastern Duluth.

The road and area around it were hit hard by the June 2012 flood. Mark Guisfredi, a city engineer on the project, said that because of rules surrounding the fixing of an 850-foot section of the road, and keeping it away from hills that collapsed in the flood, a land swap had to occur.

“Improvements had to be related to recreation,” Guisfredi said.

There were three bad washout areas, he said, and a portion of the road after the first bridge coming from Superior Street will be moved about 85 feet to the east. That will trigger a slight change in the ski and hiking trail in Lester Park, which Seven Bridges Road meanders through.

The city might have disputed that roadwork was vital to link people to popular ski, bike and hiking trails off of the road. But with state and federal agencies involved, the city had to wait things out.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is funding the project.

The work requires a large amount of clearing. Smaller trees are being removed and transplanted to an erosion mitigation project on the Knife River, Guisfredi said. Other trees will be used for chipping around the project. A heavy dose of planting back into the area also will take place, he said.

The closed road, known for its zig-zag route over the Amity, has become a popular trail itself in the past two years without auto traffic.

The road surface that will be abandoned, starting from the first bridge up to the ski trail parking area, will be removed and replaced with topsoil, seeds and plantings. The relocation affects portions of the Lester Park ski and bike trail, which will also be re-aligned as part of the project.

Guisfredi said the parking area for the trail will be improved.

Seven Bridges Road and a portion of the trails will remain closed until the project is completed in late August. The open portion of the trails can be accessed from the main area of Lester Park and the open portion of the bike trails can best be accessed from the top of the park at the junction of Seven Bridges Road and Skyline Parkway.

City trail updates can be heard by calling (218) 730-4323.