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Published March 08, 2011, 09:00 PM

Devils Lake East-end Outlet to be Built

DL Mayor says it's a 'good day for the Lake Region'
The project, developed by the State Water Commission, calls for constructing an underground pipeline from East Devils Lake to the downstream side of Tolna Coulee.

The state of North Dakota has given the green light to a project that will help relieve further Devils Lake flooding.

Governor Jack Dalrymple says the state has selected the path for an east-end outlet on Devils Lake, with plans to have it moving up to 350 cubic feet per second of water by June of 2012.

Not only will water be able to be moved sooner, it will be less expensive and could possibly run longer as well.

"I'll be there for first dirtload, I'll tell you that," Devils Lake Mayor Dick Johnson said.

No one is sure when the first dirtload will be taken from the new route for the east-end outlet, but what they do know is that an underground pipeline will move water to the downstream side of the Tolna Coulee.

It will be about five miles long, which is the shortest possible route between East Devils Lake and the Tolna Coulee and is expected to be functional by June of 2012.

"We'd like to get water off sooner, but this is realistic and if we can get it passed in the legislature now to fund the project, this is great news," Johnson said.

The Senate has approved a bill that would put $120 million towards the project. The bill is now moving through the House.

"Hopefully that 120 million dollars stays intact, that's a huge sum of money. I don't think ever before in the state of North Dakota have we dedicated that much money to a particular project over a biennium," District 15 Representative Curt Hofstad said.

The estimated cost of the project is between $62 and $90 million, including operation and maintenance costs for about 20 years.

Mayor Johnson and others will be testifying for Senate bill 2020 to make sure that the funding is provided.

"Certainly now that we're this close, we're going to do a full court press to make sure that funding comes through for us because that's needed and it benefits the whole state," Johnson said.

Johnson says the fact that crews will be able to work through the winter months is very impressive and says it gives him hope.

"It's just a good day for the Lake Region and finally we can see some light at the end of this tunnel. It's going to happen," Johnson said.