Minnesota Cities Test Out New 'Big' Sandbags

Updated: 06/25/2014 10:12 PM
Created: 06/25/2014 6:30 PM
By: Josh Rosenthal

Let's face it; filling sandbags can be backbreaking work.

"Kids just showed up. Yay! Cause you know we're kind of old," laughed Gina Coburn on Saturday while filling sandbags in Delano.

Now though, in a few cities around Minnesota, maybe it's out with the old and in with the new. The cities are using something called “The Big Bag System. “

They're made by Big Bags USA, a company out of St. Louis. Basically, they're big collapsible bags that hold the equivalent of 125 normal sandbags.

"We were desperately looking for other ways to construct temporary levies using less resources, less time," explained St. Paul Public Works Engineer Aaron Hass.

St. Paul bought the bags after doing things the old fashioned way in 2010. This is the first time they've actually had to use them. Hass says so far, the bags have saved both time and money. They took two days to set up this year, a big change from back in 2010.

"Our set-ups probably took at least four days, more like five days," Hass remembered.

Out in Inver Grove Heights, they're telling a similar story. The city is using the big bags system to cover a 150-foot opening. The bags cost them about $9,000. Public Works officials say using traditional sandbags would've cost three times that.

So long story short, in a few cities around the metro, the makeshift wall is all that stands between the Mississippi and the masses. In St. Paul, it's almost time to see how it works.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

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