Ceremony marks launch of flood protection with bridge project

Jill Schramm/MDN Preparing to toss the first ceremonial shovels of dirt on the Colton Bridge project are members of the Minot Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, contractors, Burlington Mayor Jeanine Kabanuk, Souris River Joint Board administrator Ryan Ackerman, Minot Public Works Director Dan Jonasson and State Water Commissioner Jason Zimmerman.

BURLINGTON – The city of Burlington and the Souris River Joint Board broke ground on Tuesday for the first phase of a project to bring flood protection to the community.

Ceremonial shovels wielded by representatives of the board, cities of Burlington and Minot, North Dakota State Water Commission, the congressional delegation, engineers, contractors and Minot Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors tossed dirt during a ceremony at the site of the Colton Avenue Bridge.

The replacement of the bridge over the Souris River with a longer, higher structure is the first step in flood protection for Burlington.

“Eight years ago I was on this levee right here as the water started to overtop in Burlington,” said Ryan Ackerman, SRJB administrator. “Basically, it started this journey that the basin is in with flood recovery. So we are here. We are very proud of how far we have come and we are proud to break ground on this first phase of the project within the city of Burlington.”

The $5.7 million bridge replacement is the first of two phases of the flood protection project in Burlington. The second phase, involving levees, will be bid this fall, and the flood protection work should be completed by the end of 2020.

The Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection project also has three phases of construction ongoing in Minot. “We have approximately five additional phases, throughout the basin, in various stages of design. So flood risk management, flood protection, is well on its way for the region,” Ackerman said.

He acknowledged the partners in the Burlington project, particularly the North Dakota State Water Commission, which has been a major source of funding. The Legislature approved $82.5 million for the next biennium through the commission for various aspects of the flood project throughout the basin. The City of Minot also is providing funding through its city sales tax.

Ackerman thanked Burlington for its leadership, noting the city was the first to begin flood-related property acquisitions in 2011, and property owners were willing to tax themselves to make that happen.

“The steps have been taken since the flood began in 2011, and we are very thankful for all the dedication and hard work that everyone has put into it,” Burlington Mayor Jeanine Kabanuk said.

Swingen Construction is prime contractor for the project.

Work has begun to clear the area and relocate utilities. Colton Avenue Bridge closed May 28 and will be closed until construction is completed this fall. Cherry Street from Willow to Colton also will be closed. A minor realignment of Cherry Street and grade adjustments to Colton Avenue are included in the project.

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