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Water bill provides funding for Roseau, Minn., project

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The federal Water Resource Reform and Development Act signed Tuesday by President Obama includes an assurance that an ongoing Roseau, Minn., flood protection project will be completed.

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The water legislation authorizes $43.8 million for the project, which originally was estimated at $28 million.

“The increased authorization will ensure that we are able to complete the diversion project and reduce flood risk to the citizens of Roseau,” said Aaron Snyder, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District Project Management Branch chief, in a news release. “This authorization, in combination with the federal funding provided earlier in the year, will allow for the project to be completed in the fall of 2015.”

Roseau officials have been trying to get permanent flood protection since 2002, when a major Roseau River flood resulted in approximately $100 million in damage to the city of 2,600 located about 120 miles northeast of Grand Forks.

The Roseau project includes the construction of approximately 8.75 miles of earth levees, 4.5 miles of diversion channel, an inlet structure and an outlet structure.

Construction of the diversion channel began in 2010. Since then, 3.5 miles of the channel has been excavated and the outlet structure has been completed.

The channel inlet structure and 1 mile of channel remain to be built. That final phase is expected to begin this summer, according to the Corps’s project plan.

The city earlier had received approval of the final $15 million from a combination of federal and state funding, providing the project be completed by September 2015, according to Mayor Jeff Pelowski.

However, the WRRDA approval means that the extra $15 million is guaranteed, without the deadline.

“It’s good news in that it’s a good safety valve in case they can’t get the project completed in time,” Pelowski said of the WRRDA authorization.

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Kevin Bonham
Kevin Bonham covers news from northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native, who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for nearly 30 years. 
(701) 780-1110
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