Red River flood diversion project delayedby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — The Army Corps of Engineers says it's delaying the timeline for the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project by about a year.
The Corps says it needs more time to study the effect the diversion will have on communities downstream along the Red River.
Project Manager Craig Evans said it now appears a diversion channel around Fargo-Moorhead will increase flooding as far as 120 miles downstream.
Evans said that's a problem the Army Corps needs to resolve before the project can continue.
"We felt is was necessary to extend the schedule to give ourselves time to fully define what the impacts are, to look at some options that would help us reduce the impacts," he said.
Evans said the Corps will likely release a revised project plan in the spring for public comment. He said the new deadline for the project is November of next year.
Local officials wanted the plan presented to Congress by the end of the year. They wanted the project included this year in a water appropriations bill that's considered only about every 5-7 years.
But Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said the delay is not a deal breaker. He said local officials have been assured the $1.4 billion diversion is big enough to be considered by Congress as a stand alone project.
Voxland said the Corps of Engineers is doing the right thing.
"They're concerned that they're not quite to the point of being bulletproof because of the unanswered questions both upstream and downstream," Voxland said. "So while I'm disappointed, at the end of the day we're going to have a better project to present to Congress."
Voxland said the project won't stop because of the delay. He said local officials will continue to work on a variety of funding and logistical issues.
- All Things Considered, 09/15/2010, 5:50 p.m.