FARGO — As the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project awaits final approval, engineering departments within the two cities continue to work on flood control projects.
In Fargo, about $16 million in flood walls, levies and lift stations are being constructed or are ready to start now that the 10th anniversary of the flood of 2009 has passed. After that harrowing time, work began in earnest on more involved flood control efforts in the two cities.
Fargo city engineer Nathan Boerboom said after 10 years of work along the river, creeks and drainage ditches in the city, it will take another five years yet to complete flood walls, levies, home buyouts and lift stations. He said the lift stations may even take longer.
"We're making progress, though," he said.
The largest project underway this year is along Second Street and Main Avenue near the Veterans Memorial Bridge where the oldest storm sewer lift station in the city is being replaced; a removable flood wall that ties into the bridge and the levy near the Fargo High-Rise is also being installed.
The $8.8 million project is expected to be completed this fall. Second Street along the river will again reopen once the project is complete.
Work started on the project last winter and a temporary levy was put in place along Second Street this spring when the river reached flood stage.
Boerboom said two pumps on the lift station also failed this year which shows how the station has outlived its usefulness.
The storm sewer lift stations, which number 75 in the city, are a valuable part of the city's flood control system as many of them protect the interior of the city by pumping rainfall and snow melt into the river when gravity flow no longer works when the river is at a high level, according to Boerboom.
He said some of the remaining lift station work is adding another pump to about 15 more of stations because backups are needed in case one of the pumps shuts down.
Three other Fargo flood control projects are underway this summer.
One should be wrapping up soon west of South University Drive on the north side of Rose Creek.
Boerboom said they have been working in those neighborhoods from 25th Street to South University since 2009, and this final phase offers protection from Rose Creek on both sides.
He said the $3.8 million final phase of that project is part of what he called a "big deal" in flood protection. Before flood walls were erected, a lot of sandbagging was required to protect neighborhoods and flooding had also caused severe damage to the Rose Creek golf course.
Another project underway is in the Oak Creek and Copperfield Court area to the south of 40th Avenue South along the drainage ditches that dump into Rose Creek. The $1.1 million project started this year and involved removing several homes. It will complete work along the drainage ditch that was a threat in high water times.
The final Fargo project this year is just getting underway and will involve a flood wall and levees from north of Lindenwood Park to south of the city's water treatment plant. Called the Belmont Park project, the $2.3 million effort will start yet this year and run into next year.
Temporary levees had to be put in place this past spring in that area with the high water. The project also involves home buyouts along the river.
The one Moorhead project slated for this year will also soon get underway. The estimated $2 million project will involve construction of a 5 to 6 foot earthen levy on the west side of Oakport Street between 50th Avenue North and 57th Avenue North where a private levy had been in place.
Moorhead senior engineer Jim Schulz said bids will be opened in early August with work on demolition of 10 homes expected to start this fall. The project will continue into next year.
It's part of a "top priority" for the city in its flood protection effort that involves north Moorhead from 43rd Avenue North to Wall Street Avenue North. The second phase of the project will be completed when more state funds become available, Schulz said.
"We have some more projects we would like to get done," Schulz said. "Our goal is to eliminate the need for temporary levees."
Some of the future projects would be in conjunction with the diversion project, which he said would provide more flood relief for the city.