For Michael LeBeau, the construction project supervisor for the city of Duluth, Monday's storm was a test as to how the new Lakewalk design and engineering would hold up in storms that "come like clockwork."

After watching the storm hit the section of the Lakewalk that was recently reconstructed behind the Fitger's Complex, LeBeau was happy to report that the engineering held up.

Following four strong storms in the past two years — October 2017, April 2018, October 2018 and April 2019 — the Lakewalk has seen between $25 million and $30 million in damages. The newly reconstructed section stretches about a quarter-mile between the Northland Vietnam Veterans Memorial and The Portland Malt Shoppe.

It was designed with larger stone shaped in such a way to better absorb wave energy, LeBeau said. A specified slope also helps to reflect waves, while a retaining wall keeps the waves from harming the boardwalk, asphalt trail and lights.

"It was pretty satisfying to see how it worked," LeBeau said.

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The city hasn't received invoices for the project yet, but LeBeau estimates that portion of the trail reconstruction will cost between $3 and $4 million. The next leg of the project will entail the section along Canal Park between Endion Station and the ship canal, which is currently in the design phase.

Part of that section's reconstruction will include raising the elevation and building up the shoreline so it's not as vulnerable to waves rolling across the shore. LeBeau hopes to start early next spring.

"The lake is really powerful and humbling," LeBeau said. "We are kind of living at-risk to be so close."

The city of Duluth will spend the rest of the week assessing damage before deciding whether to seek federal or state support.

A park bench along the Lakewalk sits buried in storm debris up to its seat. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
A park bench along the Lakewalk sits buried in storm debris up to its seat. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

"We've got a week to fill out this report and a lot goes into that," said Kate Van Daele, public information officer for the city of Duluth, at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Van Daele said it's clear the storm damage costs won't amount to the levels of the past two in April and last October.

All road closures from Monday have been lifted, but barricades will remain in place at the end of Canal Park Drive to keep motorists out of the loop until debris has been cleared.

Brighton Beach will remain closed to the public until further notice. Van Daele said crews need to make reinforcements to the road before it's passable.

As a general reminder, Van Daele said that if people notice fallen trees blocking roadways they should call 911 saying it's a non-emergency call. People with trees fallen in their yards are responsible for clearing it up themselves, though volunteer groups are available to help.

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Kelley Eldien with Minnesota Power said crews had restored all but 33 outages affecting 79 customers around southern St. Louis County and northern Carlton County.

Dennis Hughes holds a fallen tree limb as his wife Leslie cuts it with a hand saw Tuesday. The couple were cleaning up storm debris in their neighborhood along Gladstone Street. “We’re just trying to help out,” Dennis Hughes said. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
Dennis Hughes holds a fallen tree limb as his wife Leslie cuts it with a hand saw Tuesday. The couple were cleaning up storm debris in their neighborhood along Gladstone Street. “We’re just trying to help out,” Dennis Hughes said. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Eldien reminded people to call 911 if they find a damaged or downed power line.

"Treat all lines as if they are live and energized," Eldien said. "Stay away from them or anything they touch."

While Monday's storm caused temporary road closures to the Park Point neighborhood, life was back to business as usual for many Tuesday morning.

Lifelong Duluth resident John Socha was dripping wet after a late-morning run and quick dip in Lake Superior. Despite the lingering winds and plastic debris washed up on shore, conditions were right for a run according to Socha's standards. He prefers to schedule his weekly beach runs on days when the winds aren't blowing from the south or west for reasons related to air quality.

"When the weather's out of the east, it's the best time," Socha said. "When it's out of the north, those are beautiful conditions, too."

Rock and gravel moved by Monday’s storm covers sidewalks and parking spots in Canal Park Tuesday morning.(Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
Rock and gravel moved by Monday’s storm covers sidewalks and parking spots in Canal Park Tuesday morning.(Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

The Aerial Lift Bridge was temporarily closed to traffic Monday night as water levels were too high on both sides of the bridge, meaning residents wanting to travel home could not until water levels decreased. Just south of the bridge, four surfers could be seen riding the waves late Tuesday morning.

The rocks that line the lake-facing side of Canal Park have scattered several feet inland due to Monday's storm.

Gary Granke of Lakewood, who's in town visiting his son and vacationing with friends, said he enjoyed watching the storm from Comfort Suites in Canal Park.

"We saw these two logs come washing up," Granke said. "It was crazy."

Lake Superior water levels may have broken an all-time record, according to the Duluth Water Level Observation Station located in the harbor operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A preliminary water level observation hit 604.75 feet, a fraction of a foot higher than the previous record set in 1985.

A couple walk over the rocks covering the Lakewalk in Canal Park Tuesday morning. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
A couple walk over the rocks covering the Lakewalk in Canal Park Tuesday morning. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Observed water levels in the harbor have since dropped to 603.23 feet as of late Tuesday afternoon.

The Duluth police and fire departments responded to at least 130 storm-related calls Monday, Fire Chief Shawn Kirzaj and Police Lt. Ken Zwak said at a news conference Monday night, though that number may have risen afterward.

Krizaj said the city received no reports of storm-related injuries.