OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded an $11.7 million contract on April 20 to repair the Williston Levee and adjacent project road in Williston, N.D.
The Williston Levee is a federally constructed project south of the city. The project was designed to provide protection to the low lying areas of the city against backwater effects from Lake Sakakawea, the reservoir for Garrison Dam. The project runs roughly 6 miles east along the left bank of the Missouri River to the confluence of the Little Muddy Creek, where it extends north for approximately two miles.
During the Flood of 2011, the Williston Levee sustained significant damage.
"The Williston Levee protects critical assets of the community of Williston, and we understand the importance of providing that flood risk reduction," said Todd Lindquist, the operations project manager for Garrison Dam.
The work being performed includes restoring the levee crest to an approximate elevation of 1862-1863 above sea level. The levee will be seeded for grass. This will return the levee to its pre-flood status and level of flood risk reduction. Additionally, the access road will be resurfaced.
"This contract is the first of two major phases to restore the full functionality of our Williston flood protection measures," Lindquist said. "That said, I want to remind everyone that flood protective measures are not infallible. They reduce the risk of flooding but cannot eliminate it entirely. There is always a risk associated with living and working behind a levee."
The contract was awarded to Bristol Construction Services, LLC. The work is anticipated to be completed by Aug. 15.
During construction it will be necessary to temporarily close the levee to public use for safety considerations. This closure will effectively close a popular walking trail that uses the crown of the levee until August.
"We’ll have heavy machinery working long days – 16 hours or more, and we don’t want the public intermingling with the construction process," said Jeff Keller, a park ranger for the Williston Natural Resource Office. "As soon as construction is complete, we’ll open the levee and trail back up."
The public is encouraged to take advantage of alternate trails, including the White Bridge Walking and Bike Path north of the Little Muddy River.
In response to the Flood of 2011, the District Engineer for the Omaha District identified a need for a special execution cell or team to engage in time-sensitive rehabilitation of flood controls structures - including dams and levees - in the Missouri River Basin. Drawing on funding provided by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act signed Dec. 23, 2011, by President Barack Obama, the Omaha District Systems Restoration Team was established to focus the vast skills and abilities of the district to execute an estimated $280 million in repairs on 18 levee repair projects and $234 million on some 100 projects at the mainstem dams and related flood control structures along the Missouri River.
For regular updates on the repair efforts to flood control structures in the Missouri River Basin, visit the Omaha District’s Flood 2011 Repairs Systems Restoration Team web page.