Flood plan: A dose of reality

A preliminary schedule for a Minot flood protection plan was laid out Tuesday for members of the city council, and one thing is crystal clear after that presentation: Should Minot opt to move forward with the current plan, it will be a long, costly process with construction stretching to 2025.

That, of course, isn’t exactly shocking news to anyone who’s been at all involved behind the scenes with formulating the plan or anyone who’s been paying attention to discussions of flood recovery. But to see dates and cost estimates in black and white perhaps provided a dose of stark reality for some. Engineers said the projected construction schedule, beginning in 2014 and ending in 2025, is a “best-case scenario” that assumes no shortfalls with funding.

Under the preliminary plan, construction would begin in 2014, and the first phase would be a $25.7 million project protecting the Minot Water Treatment Plant. Other portions of the plan include flood walls along Fourth Avenue Northeast to be completed in 2016 ($26.4 million), the Maple Diversion to be finished in 2019 ($103.9 million), and an $8 million subproject on the city’s east edge would be the last project completed, finishing in 2025. In addition, bridges would be raised at U.S. Highway 83 and Highway 2 bypasses (2018, $11.7 million), the bridge on Burdick Expressway would be modified (2020, $9.3 million). There are many more sections of the project, which has an estimated total cost of $820 million, with the city’s share coming to roughly $555.7 million.

Under this “best-case scenario,” the project would be completed in 2025. What are the odds of that happening? What are the odds that all forms of funding will be available to keep the project on schedule? What are the odds that there would be no construction delays during the 11 years of work?

It’s a daunting task, to be sure, but it’s good to have all the information available so city officials and residents know exactly what lies ahead for the city as flood recovery continues.