Committee considers schedule for flood protection

The next step in developing a flood protection plan for the Souris River Valley through Minot will involve environmental and feasibility assessments, according to engineers designing a project for the basin.

Ryan Ackerman with Ackerman-Estvold Engineering & Management Consulting, a subconsultant to Barr Engineering, presented the flood protection project timeline to the Minot City Council’s Public Works and Safety Committee Wednesday. The committee approved the preliminary schedule for the project, as did the council’s Finance and Improvements Committee Tuesday.

The project currently is in the design and land acquisition stage. Barr and Ackerman-Estvold have been involved in the preliminary engineering. The City of Minot identified about 120 homes that it was interested in buying through voluntary acquisition proceedings.

Cindy Hemphill, finance director, said 82 to 84 homeowners accepted buyouts, and all but five or six of those sales have closed. The others are expected to close soon. Hemphill said the city will be putting together bids on demolition of the homes, which are in the footprint of a proposed flood protection project.

The city identified 20 of the purchased homes as salvageable, and they will be offered for sale and relocation.

“Some of them really are in quite good shape,” Hemphill said. If buyers can’t be found, though, the houses will be demolished.

The construction timeline for the flood protection project calls for preliminary engineering to finish later this year. Work then would begin on environmental and field investigations, design development and feasibility assessment for a federal Environmental Impact Statement.

Ackerman said an environmental assessment will look at the impact of the overall project, but there will be areas of little or no impact where flood protection measures can be erected without much delay. He said it is expected that environmental studies will not create extended delays with any of the project features.

The EIS is on the timeline for completion in 2017, but construction is scheduled to start in 2015, assuming funding is available. Detailed design work also will continue throughout the duration of the project.

In other action, the public works committee voted to recommend the council adopt a policy controlling development along the U.S. Highway 83 Bypass to maintain the highway as a bypass. Provisions of the policy include:

– No new access is

allowed except for

arterial accesses.

– Existing accesses will be restricted as the bypass is further developed to right in, right out intersections or grade separations.

– Construction of minor arterial, collector and frontage/backage roads are required when adjacent to new development.

– The city will require dedication of right of way from developers to provide for roadways.