A picnic table.
A hot tub.
James C. Falcon/MDN
Crews were busy Tuesday burning some trash pulled out of dead loops of the Souris River. Rick Hair, street superintendent of Minot, said “anything from picnic tables to hot tubs” have been in the loops. Things like picnic tables, decks and porches are cut up and burned, while remaining trash is hauled away, Hair said.
It could be a shopping list for your next trip to Menards. Or, it could be a list of the items found in the dead loops of the Souris River after the flood.
For the past three weeks, crews from the Public Works' street department were traversing the dead loops behind the Holiday Inn Riverside and the North Dakota State Fairgrounds to perform annual maintenance on the loops.
The normal maintenance includes cleaning up the trees that hang over the dead loops, explained Rick Hair, superintendent of the street department.
The warm weather has allowed the street department to do this uninterrupted this winter. For the past few winters, the amount of snow has been so great that the street department had been too busy cleaning the snow off the streets to have time to work on the loop detail.
"Most of the times, we were working seven days a week just cleaning the snow (off the roads)," Hair said.
This year, the maintenance was compounded by the flooding of the Souris River last summer. The flood snatched picnic tables and porches from lawns and household appliances from inside homes and deposited them in a devil-may-care fashion. The dead loops were one such location that, for the most part, have remained untouched.
"Anything from picnic tables to hot tubs" have been found in the Holiday Inn and fairgrounds loops so far, Hair explained. "I know the one they're on right now, there's a big hot tub over there. Eastwood Park has a little bit of everything."
Passersby on Fourth Avenue Northeast might have noted the smoke rising from near the fairgrounds; they needn't have worried.
"We cut the trees up and the picnic tables, the decks, the porches, we cut them up and burn them," Hair said. "The rest of the stuff, we haul out of there."
Work on the Holiday Inn and fairgrounds loops will continue for the rest of this week, Hair said, adding that Eastwood Park is next.
Dan Jonasson, assistant public works director for the city, explained that work on all of the rivers loops, of which there are seven, will continue "as long as we can still get on there," noting that after the ice on the river melts, it will be more difficult to do the maintenance. The National Resource Conversation Service, through a debris removal project, is slated to take care of what is left after the snow melts, he said.
The length of time it takes to clean a loop depends on the loop, Jonasson said.
"It varies on the dead loop," he said. "Some of the dead loops are only a couple hundred feet, some are several (hundred)."
There is also the amount of debris found in the specific loop that has an impact on the clean-up time.