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Wendy Reuer, Published March 04 2013

Bridge to keep access to Lake Shure homes open

WEST FARGO – A permanent bridge in the Lake Shure development here will prevent about 30 homes from being marooned by floodwaters as they have in the past.

The 300-foot-long bridge will be built on 52nd Avenue North between Cass County 17 and 57th Avenue. Lake Shure is a housing development in Reed Township, about a mile north of West Fargo.

During the floods of 2009, 2010 and 2011, floodwaters from the Sheyenne River area washed out roads leading in and out of the development.

“They get caught off from breakout waters from the Sheyenne River and Drain 40,” Cass County Engineer Jason Benson said.

The length of time residents were isolated in their homes ranged from a few days to 45 days, Benson said.

The county received a federal grant to design and build the bridge, but FEMA requested the bridge be finished in two phases. A soil assessment and design must be finished and approved by FEMA by December. Construction can begin in spring 2014, Benson said.

Cass County commissioners granted Houston Engineering a contract Monday to design the bridge for $28,500. The commissioners also unanimously approved a soil assessment study by Midwest Testing Laboratory for $11,000.

County Commissioner Ken Pawluk said he would have been hesitant to approve the bridge if the Red River diversion project was a sure thing.

“I would be surprised in any circumstance that the need for this bridge wouldn’t go away once the diversion is complete,” Pawluk said.

Benson said the benefit the bridge will offer residents of Lake Shure in the next 10 years – the estimated time of construction for the Red River diversion – is still high compared to the cost of the bridge.

Construction of the bridge is expected to cost about $1.1 million, Benson said. FEMA will grant the county 75 percent of the total bridge cost, while the state Department of Emergency Services will pay 10 percent of the total project cost.

“In fact, some of the engineering costs we incurred developing our application, they also cover that,” Benson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530