ARGUSVILLE, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today highlighted the benefits of the FM Area Diversion for the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo metro area and the entire state of North Dakota during a groundbreaking ceremony for the 30-mile diversion channel, a key piece of the comprehensive flood protection project.
Today’s groundbreaking near Argusville was attended by local, state and federal officials and was held in conjunction with the Red River Valley Alliance, which is the Public-Private Partnership (P3) developer for the project – the first P3 of its kind in the nation for flood management – as well as the Metro Flood Diversion Authority and ASN Contractors.
“This is a landmark day for one of the largest infrastructure projects in North Dakota history,” Burgum said, noting the State of North Dakota added to its major commitment to the diversion project last year when the Legislature and the governor approved $435.5 million in bonding that increased the state’s total pledge to $870 million. “By protecting more than 235,000 people, over $25 billion in property value and nearly 20% of our state’s sales tax collections, and reducing the need for flood insurance, this project will save hundreds of millions of dollars for taxpayers while also serving as a national model for how to accomplish a major flood protection project with local, state, federal and private sector collaboration. We are deeply grateful to all the project partners whose tireless work allows us to this celebrate this milestone.”
Construction on the diversion project began in spring 2017, but a U.S. District Court judge approved a temporary injunction in September 2017 ordering work to stop. The ruling recognized the need for permanent flood protection for Fargo-Moorhead and strongly encouraged all parties to work together to agree on a project that can serve the interests of both states and the affected communities.
Burgum and then-Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton met in October 2018 and jointly decided to create the 16-member F-M Area Flood Diversion Task Force to address the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) concerns about the diversion project. The Task Force had eight members from each state, including representatives of upstream and downstream interests. Burgum and Dayton co-chaired the Task Force, which convened five times in three months – aided by technical subcommittees that spent hundreds of hours analyzing alternatives – to try to reach consensus on components of the project. The group’s work led to the diversion authority submitting a new permit application to the DNR in March 2018, which was ultimately granted.
Substantial completion of the diversion project is expected by 2027.