FLOOD UPDATE: Fargo "going into full flood-fighting mode," signs off on $1.2 million worth of levee work, equipment
In a morning meeting fraught with a sense of urgency, the Fargo City Commission signed off on almost $1.2 million worth of clay levee work and alternative flood protection equipment.
Work on three levees will start as early as Sunday and Monday, said Fargo City Engineer Mark Bittner. The city decided to hold off on a fourth project, in North Oaks, because wet, soft soils pose a risk of damage to the foundations of adjacent properties.
The Army Corps of Engineers will construct three additional levees near University Drive between 40th and 52nd avenues south.
The meeting came on the heels of city officials learning the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead is now projected to surge 11 feet in the next week, hitting major flood stage by week's end.
"We're going into full flood-fighting mode here," said City Administrator Pat Zavoral.
Mayor Dennis Walaker and Commissioner Mike Williams attended the 8 a.m. meeting in City Hall; Commissioner Dave Piepkorn attended via phone. Commissioners Tim Mahoney and Brad Wimmer were absent.
In Timberline, the city awarded a $499,200 contract to Strata Corp. In the Rose Creek Golf Course west side, a bid by Northern Improvement for $226,973 won. For Drain 53 at 64th Avenue South, the city awarded a $146,200 contract to Master Construction.
Contracts were awarded based on cost and the availability of equipment to do the job, Bittner said.
In Timberline, the city is facing a decision on whether to build the levee on the south side of a bike trial - or the north side, in residents' back yards. The city will try to plug a storm sewer that's caused flooding south of the trail so contractors can build there. If plugging the sewer does not work, homeowners would have the options of clay levee or sandbags.
In North Oaks, Bittner said, the city will sandbag if the river level surpasses 37 feet.
The city also rented the following equipment:
E 350 feet of Aquafence, a plywood board barrier, for $8,750
E a material handling machine for a month at $57,000
The city accepted 100 feet of Aquadam, a water-filled flood barrier, to use for free during the flood.
The city bought $73,800 worth of sand tubes and $172,700 worth of Big Bags, 2,800-pound sandbags.
"No matter how we try to put this thing off, it's becoming a reality," Walaker said, adding, "Procrastination is not the word of the day."