Drivers in Garrison are seeing something scary coming off Mille Lacs Lake. The warmer weather is causing ice from the lake to over flow onto Highway 169.
Icy roads are normally caused by water falling from the sky, not from ice blocks coming ashore. But this year Mille Lacs Lake has unless piles off ice onto it’s shores causing delays on highway 169 and putting buildings of danger.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Operations supervisor, Jon Beaufeaux, says, “On Sunday I called a crew of five guys in and we brought heavy equipment down there and a couple of tandem trucks as well. Tried to regain our top 24 feet and keep the traffic moving.”
So far the Minnesota Department of Transportation says they’re lucky the state troopers have helped them keep traffic moving around the lake.
Beaufeaux says, “It wasn’t too bad initially. We got the road regained where we could control it with traffic controlled with assistance from the state patrol in Crow Wing County. I would guesstimate there was a time of 15 minutes approximately where we held traffic that was stopped in both directions.”
MN DOT says they’ve noticed the winds change from northeasterly to north. And these wind changes can cause ice to start overflowing into buildings near the shoreline that aren’t protected by the highway.
MN DOT was concerned with how well the concourse wall would hold up, with ice coming ashore.
Beaufeaux says, “It’s the worst reported in probably upwards to thirty years.”
The concourse wall is at the end of its about one million dollar renovations. With some of the ice walls on the lakeshore being over twenty feet high, Garrison is happy the wall is holding up.
Beaufeaux says, “We’re grabbing it with machines and pulling it across [highway] 169 and placing it on the west side. As ice forces coming off the lake it creates such a wall that there’s really no way to combat it and put it on the like side.”
But for right not it’s a battle of man and machine versus Mother Nature.