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Good weather means progress on flood project

Ryan Ackerman

One phase of flood project construction in Minot is running a year ahead of schedule, while another two phases of construction are soon to get started, Souris River Joint Board Administrator Ryan Ackerman told the Ward County Commission Tuesday.

The MI-5 phase from Third Street east along Fourth Avenue is in progress.

“We do anticipate that work being completed or substantially completed by the end of 2024. We were originally scheduled out to the end of 2025 for that,” Ackerman said. “The contractor has been taking advantage of our good weather over the past several months here, and they’re making great progress and as a result, we’re shaving about a year off of the construction phase of that project.”

As that happens, focus is turning to phases MI-6 and MI-7, he said. This is the first work to occur on the south side of the river since protection was built at the Minot Water Treatment Plant when the project started.

MI-6 runs from Main Street along the BNSF railroad tracks, traveling east to Roosevelt Park. There it transitions into MI-7, continuing into the park and zoo and terminating at Burdick Expressway.

“Those two phases we have completed the design on and we’ve begun some construction activities as recently as yesterday. The activities that are being undertaken are tree removals. So, these are a critical first piece of those projects,” Ackerman said.

Phases MI-6 and MI-7 will be bid in multiple contracts in coming months, with heavy construction starting in June, he said. He estimated the two phases include about $100 million in improvements.

On the design side, one focus is MI-4, or the Maple Diversion, for which the federal government has committed $65 million to the estimated $100 million price tag, Ackerman said.

He said design work is expected to continue for the next 18 months. The project recently cleared a hurdle in arriving at draft agreements with both BNSF and CPKC railroads as well as Amtrak, which are affected by the project.

Maple Diversion construction could start at the end of 2025 or early 2026, Ackerman said.

Design teams also are working on a bridge replacement in Velva for bidding this fall. A bridge at Mouse River Park in Renville County is out for bid.

The challenge has come from the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s decision to use federal funds to create a program for bridge infrastructure improvements, creating a demand for contractors, Ackerman said.

“There is now a very limited number of available bridge contractors who work on these types of projects. So, this will be the third time that we’ve bid the Mouse River Park bridge. The first two times we got zero bids,” he said.

Ackerman also recapped legislative action that is providing $76.1 million this biennium, which is coupled with proceeds from bonds that are to be paid with Minot city sales tax dollars. The Legislature also indicated its intent to continue that level of funding each biennium until the project is completed.

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