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Fargo dike removal could start soon

FARGO - Clay dikes could soon be disappearing from Fargo streets, a labor that will take 25,000 dump-truck loads to accomplish.

Dikes will start disappearing as soon as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes agreements with contractors, said Jeremy Gorden, Fargo's senior engineer in charge of streets.

He expected the work could start early this week.

A spokeswoman for the corps said this morning an announcement will be made when the contract process is finalized.

A Moorhead official said contracts for dike removal in that city could be signed by the end of the week, with work starting this weekend.

The corps is in charge of removing contingency dikes and many private sandbag dikes on both sides of the Red River.

Agreements between the corps and contractors call for the work on Fargo's dikes to be completed in 21 days.

Around the clock

Dike removal in Fargo will go 24 hours a day, with priority given to dikes that block driveways.

Other areas to get immediate attention include 50th Avenue west of Interstate 29 and South University Drive near Rose Coulee, Gorden said.

"By the weekend, those should easily be back open," he said.

Another priority will be opening the First Avenue North bridge over the Red River, though Gorden said that work may have to wait until the river has dropped a bit more.

Removing all of the clay dikes in the city will mean moving an estimated 250,000 cubic yards of clay, he said.

A single dump truck can haul about 10 cubic yards of clay, "So, it's about 25,000 dump-truck loads," Gorden said.

Much of the clay will go back to where it came from - "borrow" pits near Hector International Airport, and at Centennial and Discovery schools in Fargo.

Gorden said the pits at Centennial and Discovery will be filled in, graded and seeded "like nothing ever happened."

I-94 dike to shrink

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will start removing a portion of a dike on the north side of Interstate 94 near Eighth Street South in Moorhead Wednesday morning, with the work scheduled to be completed by the end of the day.

The diking is being removed so the far right lane can be reopened.

It is not known when the remainder of the dike will be removed.

Cass dikes to go, too

The Corps of Engineers will also remove dikes soon in rural Cass County, said Keith Berndt, county engineer. Contractors will be taking out private sandbag dikes and public levees.

Contracts for that work should be completed within a day or two, Berndt said. Until then, it's too soon to say when removal will start. Late this week would be the earliest, he said.

The levee in the Chrisan subdivision just south of Fargo will be the first removed because it leaves the neighborhood accessible only by foot, he said.

Berndt said there's a lot of work to be done on rural roads. About 100 areas in need of repair have been identified on county roads, and that doesn't count the township roads, he said. He didn't have an estimate for the repair bill.

Reporter Dave Roepke contributed to this report