Local, state and federal officials gathered yesterday to commemorate the fight against the floodwaters of 1997 and officially mark the beginning of construction on the FM Area Diversion Project.
The site south of Horace will be the future location of the Diversion Inlet and Control Structure that marks the southern end of the Diversion Channel.
“We are here to remember all the hard work that went in to fighting those floods and others that followed, but also to look forward to a brighter future,” Col. Sam Calkins, commander of the St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said. “We have a project that, in the end, is good for the entire region. It’s the public safety of the 230,000 residents of Fargo and Moorhead that is our top priority.”
“This is a very historic day. We are moving forward at a rapid pace. We will continue to move forward and continue to work with people and find solutions,” Fargo Mayor and Chair of the Diversion Authority Board Tim Mahoney said.
“The idea here is comprehensive flood protection for the region that recognizes that everybody is important. The thing that is so important is that we have to work together,” Sen. John Hoeven said.
“You are gathered here making history in what has been described as a public private partnership,” Major General Michael Wehr, Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division of the Corps said. “This project is in fact the first one ever to be done by the Corps. You are making that history.”
Construction on the Inlet will begin with site preparation and piling soil. Ames Construction Inc. out of Burnsville, MN was awarded the construction contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in December of last year.
The entire project includes a 30-mile long earthen channel and a 12-mile long southern embankment. The project also includes 19 highway crossings, four railroad crossings, and two more gated control structures.
The other structures will be on the Red River and the Wild Rice River. There will also be two aqueduct structures along the Maple River and the Sheyenne River.