River Road landslide removal underway


The Burleigh County Highway Department today began removing the dirt from the landslide that took place on River Road earlier this week.

The department has spotters with horns to alert work crews if there is a sudden movement on the hill to ensure the safety of the workers.

As of now, there doesn’t appear to be any additional sliding of material or damage to the pavement underneath. They are loading up the dirt and dropping it off at the fairgrounds on Bismarck Expressway and Highway 10.

County Road Superintendent Wayne Klein said they have to remove the dirt completely and not simply push it to the west of River Road. This is because there is a creek bed that runs into the main channel of the Missouri River.

“We plan on trying to put some barriers in place for safety for the general public and my guys here,” said Klein. “We’re gonna try to pull some of that back slope down, but it’s just a matter of time. I got some contractors coming in here to help haul some dirt. There’s plenty of dirt to haul.”

Klein hopes to have River Road open by this weekend.

State Geologist Ed Murphy said the North Dakota Geological Survey has been mapping landslides in the state over the past several years.

“In recent years, in addition to identifying landslides from aerial photographs using stereoscopes, which enables us to see images in three dimensions (3D), we have also been evaluating Google Earth images and  LiDAR coverages,” said Murphy.

He adds, “To date, they have mapped over 63 percent of North Dakota and, so far, have identified 25,162 landslides:

  • Those landslides cover an area of 215,101 acres (336 sections or more than nine townships).
  • The identified landslides range in size from less than an acre to landslide complexes that cover several hundred acres.
  • The average size of the landslides mapped is nine acres — the River Road landslide covers roughly 0.6 acres.

Murphy adds, “Once we complete this phase of the project in about 18 months, we will go back and identify the slopes that are problematic or prone to slope failure.  The majority of slopes along the Missouri River, as well as many of those along the other rivers and streams in North Dakota, will likely be identified as prone to slope failure.”

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