City And County Ready Waterfront -- Should History Repeat - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

City And County Ready Waterfront -- Should History Repeat

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Some history is worth repeating -- not so, when it comes to 2011 and historic water.

In recent memory, the Mighty Missouri has raged -- in 2009, and again, in 2011.  Both times, she unleashed her fury along the banks of North Dakota.  "In 2009, an ice jam.  Ice jam is probably the most realistic event we would see in the future.  Ice jams are difficult, if not impossible, to predict," says Jeff Heintz, Director of Service Operations, Bismarck Public Works.  "In 2011, these particular water levels were unprecedented in this area since the construction of the dam," says Marcus Hall, Burleigh County Engineer.

Late season snowpack and heavy rainfall created a perfect storm requiring a massive release of water from Garrison Dam.  Along the way, the Missouri showed no mercy.  Taming the Missouri -- or at least its impact -- is a priority this Summer.

In Bismarck, the grade raise project on Riverwood Drive is already underway.  The first phase includes tree removal to make way for new road alignment.  In the end, the road itself will serve as flood protection for South Bismarck.  "We can put these measures in place and protect a large number of people in Bismarck and for once and for all, just kind of be done with it," says Heintz.

In Burleigh County, Burnt Creek Loop is being raised.  Officials say this will prevent the backward flow of water from the South.  They're also building a new Pumping Station at Tavis Road.  Projects at 48th Avenue and Washington Street will raise the grade by two to three feet in some locations.  Notes Hall, "Most of the projects we got going on right now are roadway projects.  We still have a lot of levee construction projects."

County and City officials are working together to be ready for whatever the Missouri may have in store going forward.  "Once these projects are done, I feel very comfortable with the work that the City and County has done to protect the vast majority of the residents that were exposed to flooding in the 2011 event," says Hall.

City work is expected to be nearly complete by Fall.  The County says their projects should be finished by 2016.


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