Project Update – May 2019

What Construction is Taking Place?

P3 Construction of the Diversion Channel and Associated Infrastructure

  • The Diversion Authority will contract with a P3 Developer to build the Diversion Channel and all of the infrastructure that goes with the channel. This includes bridges and aqueduct structures.
  • The P3 bids are expected in the spring of 2020 and construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2020.
  • This work is expected to be finished by the spring of 2027.

U.S. Army Corps Construction of the Southern Embankment and Associated Infrastructure

  • Building the Diversion Inlet Structure is a $46 Million project. It is expected to resume in June. The work is being done by Ames Construction of Minnesota.
  • The construction of the Wild Rice River Control Structure is a $25 Million to $100 Million project. It is expected the bid to build this project will be awarded by the end of the year.

City and County Related Construction

  • CITY OF FARGO PROJECTS: The City of Fargo is working on multiple flood-related projects including levees, floodwalls and pump stations. A few of the areas with construction this summer include Oak Creek, 42nd St, the Belmont area, Rosewood, and the Copperfield area.  Click here for the City of Fargo's website about these projects.
  • CITY OF MOORHEAD: The City of Moorhead does not have any flood-related work planned for the summer months of 2019. Click here for more information about the City of Moorhead's flood mitigation projects.
  • CASS COUNTY: The County is paving of County 17 near the Diversion Inlet structure.

What is the Financial Status of the Project?

  • The Diversion Authority is working with technical and financial advisors to understand the funding commitments made by State and Federal Partners.
  • During the next 90 days, the advisors will evaluate the most cost-effective and efficient way to move forward with construction.

ND State Funding

  • To date, the North Dakota Legislature has appropriated $436.5 Million of their $750 Million commitment.
  • It is expected that a P3 contract will be secured before the Legislature meets again. Once bids are in hand, the Diversion Authority expects future additional legislative funding requests to be made.

Federal Funding

  • An amended Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) was signed on March 19, 2019. This increases the federal commitment in the project to $750 Million (in 2015 dollars). The federal share escalates to the year it is appropriated to account for inflation.
  • $98 Million in federal support has been appropriated for construction of the project. The Fiscal 2020 Budget request includes a $100 Million ask from the federal government to support the Wild Rice Control Structure construction, Diversion Inlet Control Structure construction, design work, and mitigation.

MN State Funding

  • Moorhead and Clay County have requested $86 Million in State funding. $6 Million of which has been secured for construction to date.

Local Funding

  • Sales Tax collections are ongoing in Fargo and Cass County to support the project. No additional sources of local revenue are anticipated to fund construction
  • Maintenance of the Project is expected to be paid through excess sales tax revenues or a small maintenance levy. This is similar to other flood protection projects.
  • The Special Assessment District was created and currently exists to help obtain better financing terms and rates.

What is happening with Property and Lands?

Land Acquisition

  • The Diversion Authority is moving forward with all land acquisition necessary for the Project. This is a top priority.
  • The Cass County Joint Water Resource District is the acquiring entity for property rights in North Dakota.
  • The City of Moorhead and Clay County are forming a joint powers agreement for the purposes of acquiring property rights in Minnesota. For more information about Land Acquisition process click here.

Flowage Easements

  • Flowage easements are required for parcels in the Upstream Mitigation Area. The Value of the easements will be determined through an appraisal.
  • The Diversion Authority has contracted with Crown Appraisals to develop the value of the easements. Phase 1 of the appraisal study was completed in November of 2018. Phase 2 is expected to begin shortly.
  • The Diversion Authority has developed and committed to additional mitigation above and beyond the requirements established by state and federal agencies. The additional programs include post-operation debris clean-up and damage repair, and a summer flood supplemental crop loss program.

What is happening with permits and court cases?

Permitting

  • The Minnesota DNR issued a Dam Safety & Public Waters Work Permit for the Project on Dec. 27, 2018. The Diversion Authority reviewed the permit and all permit conditions. The DA found the conditions achievable. Most of the conditions are construction monitoring and reporting requirements that are routine.
    • The Buffalo Red Watershed District (BRRWD), the City of Comstock, and the City of Wolverton have requested a Contested Case Hearing. This is an administrative process that challenges the permit issued by the DNR. Working through the Contested Case process will take months, but the recent ruling by Federal Court Judge Tunheim means requested construction can take place in compliance with the permit. Read more about the ruling here.
  • The Diversion Authority has submitted a permit application to the BRRWD. The BRRWD has issued draft permit conditions and the DA found them to all be workable within the existing project.

Litigation

  • The Richland/Wilkin County JPA filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2013. The Diversion Authority later joined the suit as did the State of Minnesota.
    • On April 8, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Tunheim modified the injunction to allow all requested construction to proceed on the Project. This includes the P3 process and manufacturing components and building the Diversion Inlet and the Wild Rice Control Structure. It also includes starting construction on the Western Tieback and non-construction design and mitigation work in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Current Project News

Finance Committee Agenda – Aug. 21, 2019

Finance Committee Agenda for Aug. 21, 2019 Item 7e: MOU

Diversion Board of Authority – Agenda for Aug. 22, 2019

Diversion Agenda Packet for Aug. 22, 2019 Item 7e Similar

Diversion Board of Authority – Minutes for Aug. 8, 2019

Diversion Board of Authority – Minutes for Aug. 8, 2019

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