City reviews preliminary construction schedule for flood protection

Starting with construction around the Minot Water Treatment Plant, a schedule for building a flood protection project could start in 2014 and finish in 2025, engineer Ryan Ackerman told Minot city council members Tuesday.

A schedule of subprojects and the necessary funding needed each year to keep the project moving were unveiled in a presentation by Ackerman, whose firm, Ackerman-Estvold Engineering and Management Consulting is working with Barr Engineering, the lead company on Souris River flood protection planning.

The project would need to have between $14 million and $78.5 million a year, depending on the work to be done in a particular year. The lower figure doesn’t include the cost of work around the water treatment plant, which is being funded through the federal Hazard Mitigation Program.

The first work to start would occur around the water treatment plant, which is a stand-alone subproject that can function regardless of whether the rest of the flood protection is built. The construction schedule is to complete the $25.7 million in improvements by 2016.

“This implementation schedule is based on there not being any shortfall of funding,” Ackerman said. “We expect that funding is really going to dictate this schedule, but this is really a best-case scenario.”

Based on that scenario, the schedule of subprojects, their expected completion dates and costs is as follows:

– flood walls along Fourth Avenue Northeast, completed in 2016 for $26.4 million.

– raising of modifications on bridges at U.S. Highway 83 and Highway 2 bypasses, 2018, $11.7 million.

– Maple Diversion, 2019. $103.9 million.

– Forest Road subproject to extend protection to the west, 2018, $8.3 million.

– Napa Valley subproject in the northwest, 2019 or possibly earlier due to the likely ease of obtaining right of way from the north side of Souris Valley Golf Course. $18.3 million.

– Rodeo Road subproject, running east from Third Street on the north side of the river to Roosevelt Park, 2020, $12 million.

– raising the bridge and approach on Burdick Expressway, 2020, $9.3 million.

– Roosevelt Park area subproject, 2020, $24.2 million.

– Roosevelt Park Zoo area subproject, 2022, $39 million.

– 27th Street Diversion, 2023, $94.5 million.

– South and North Walker Road subprojects, 2024, $30.8 million.

– downtown flood walls, 2025, $10 million.

– Leite-Brekke subproject near the Souris Valley Golf course, 2025, $8 million.

– Keller subproject on the city’s far east edge, 2025, $6.7 million.

Total cost of the subprojects with additional land acquisitions and easements totals $530 million. With the addition of the water treatment plant work, the total comes to $555.7 million. That exceeds the $543 million cost originally estimated for the city’s share of the flood protection plan because the work at the water treatment plant includes additional features to make it a stand-alone project.

The cost of the entire protection plan through the Souris River Basin is estimated at $820 million.

Ackerman said the U.S. Corps of Engineers has declined a request from the Souris River Joint Board, representing counties along the Souris River, to conduct a reconnaissance study because of lack of funding to take on new projects at this time. The study would determine whether there is a federal interest in a project to warrant federal involvement. Ackerman said the joint board hopes find another avenue to complete the study to Corps standards.

The reconnaissance study could lead to a feasibility study, which could look at alternative flood control measures, such as raising Lake Darling.

Asked about potential roadblocks to the overall flood protection project, Ackerman said the limiting factor will be funding.

“The majority, if not all of the communities, want a project. They do not want 2011 to ever happen again, and they are just concerned with how to raise the funds,” he said. “A part of the value in the document that has been prepared in this presentation is it starts to give an understanding of anticipated cash flows per year, and it also can feed into a potential request to outside entities for support, whether it’s federal or state.”

Ackerman also presented information on how Grand Forks paid for its flood protection and how Fargo and Moorhead plan to pay for theirs. The local share in Grand Forks was $74 million and in Fargo it is anticipated to be $449 million.

“We are faced with a substantial demand for funding (for) this protection as we go forward,” committee chairman Mark Jantzer said. “I think that is important for all of us to contemplate.”

The committee voted to recommend the Minot City Council approve the phasing report.