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West Duluth intersection of 63rd Avenue West and Bristol Street reopens

The water of Keene Creek moves through two sets of box culverts under 63rd Avenue West and Bristol Street on Tuesday afternoon. (Clint Austin / / 2
Traffic moves freely along 63rd Avenue West near the intersection with Bristol Street on Tuesday afternoon in West Duluth. The intersection reopened after repairs were completed to replace the bridges that were washed out during the June 2012 flooding. (Clint Austin / / 2

After a wait of more than two years, residents of West Duluth soon will regain full access to 63rd Avenue West and Bristol Street.

Paving work is underway this week on the two roadways that were closed to through traffic after the record flooding of June 2012, when the raging waters of Keene Creek overwhelmed culverts and rendered the streets impassable.

The culverts themselves survived the flooding — but they weren’t big enough to handle the swollen creek, and floodwaters caused major damage around them. That forced the closure of 63rd Avenue West, an important local thoroughfare linking neighborhoods on either side of Interstate 35, as well as an adjoining portion of Bristol Street.

Work on the streets was delayed while the city addressed other flood-damaged infrastructure and ongoing projects. While the streets were closed to through traffic, all residents still were able to access their homes from either side of the closures.

Now, after several months of work — including the installation of new, larger culverts — the roads are open to local traffic. Construction crews are slated to pave the parking lanes today, finishing work on Thursday, city officials reported. There will be some periodic closures today and early Thursday before the road is officially open to all traffic late Thursday.