One small bridge may be key to saving Minot, N.D.

Minot, N.D., flooding
In this aerial photo, a Conoco gas station is surrounded by sand bags, the flood waters of the Souris River, and an oil slick Friday, June 24, 2011 in Minot, N.D.
AP Photo

MINOT, N.D. - Residents and city officials braced for another bad day on Saturday as record crests were expected.

A second evacuation has been issued in a nearby town, and on Saturday night, while there is some good news to report, the fight to save the area is far from over.

Correspondent Jamie Yuccas from Minneapolis station WCCO reports that as the Mouse river begins to crest at its highest and most historic levels, it's time for drastic action around Minot, North Dakota.

Flooding North Dakota river nears crest
Worse flooding to come in Minot, N.D.
Photos: Fighting against the Souris River

The river is flowing more than fifty times its normal speed and has expanded to ten times its size as it passes through the city, dragging debris downstream from miles away.

With man-made levees threatening to fail in the heart of downtown, Minot's Mayor Curt Zimbelman knows how dangerous that is.

"If (the levee) goes, everything goes in this whole, this whole area, for several blocks up, several businesses. We either hold this whole dike, this whole temporary dike or we lose it all," Zimbelman says.

One thing that could make that fear a reality is a small 40-foot pedestrian walkway that has become over run by the rushing floodwaters and is wedging its way into the levee's side.

What's incredible about this small bridge being cluttered with debris is it's eroding the dike which could flood hundreds of homes and businesses behind it, dividing the city of Minot in half.

Tasked to stop it from happening, excavator Russ Gohl, who has every resource and flood fighter, including the National Guard, at his disposal.

"By removing the bridge its collecting debris and its causing the water to swirl and erode our dikes and what we are gonna do is hook on and try and physically brute force pull the bridge away," Gohl says.

They are using airboats, bulldozers, even a tank, in doing everything possible to help a community where 4,000 homes and businesses have already been overrun by the river.

The river is cresting right now and should continue through the night. The good news is Governor Jack Dalrymple says it should be two feet lower than expected, but it just started raining again.