North Dakota flood wall hits snag following BNSF revisions

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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After BNSF added revisions to a flood wall design in North Dakota the cost spiked. Now there is a search for alternatives.
BNSF

Momentum for flood wall construction is drying up in Minot, N.D., and city officials are blaming BNSF.

BNSF wants the track raised in spots, which will require lifting the Third Street Viaduct and existing rail bridges. The request will require additional properties to be purchased. The original cost for a flood wall from Third Street to 13th Street Northeast was originally $47 million, but then spiked to $129 million following the needs from BNSF. Minot and the Souris River Joint Board attempted to land a $25 million grant from the U.S. DOT to cover the cost overrun, but only received $18 million. When BNSF only offered up $2 million in matching funds the grant was dropped.

A revised plan will now cost $75 million but requires additional property. BNSF responded by stating that the flood control project does not provide the benefit to the railroad to warrant a substantial contribution from BNSF, but the Class 1 railroad will continue to work with the community on the flood control project and has “offered to assess alternative options for viability.”

The Minot City Council is expected to vote on the redesign in February, and if approved construction could start as early as 2021.

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