Mandan is hiring an engineering consulting company and an environmental consulting firm to help prepare for the possibility of spring flooding.
City commissioners on Tuesday passed the request from city staff unanimously. The city will pay the $100,000 cost using city sales tax funds.
An agreement with engineering consulting group Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson will cost roughly $65,000, while the city will pay environmental consulting firm Braun Intertec about $35,000, City Administrator Jim Neubauer said at the meeting.
Weather forecasts for the upcoming months show below-average temperatures and higher-than-average precipitation. That, plus saturated soil from a wet fall, increases the likelihood of flooding, according to the request.
The decision authorizes the city to enter into agreements with Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson to develop a topographical survey, bid and negotiate with contractors, and design a project to plug bays along the Missouri River with sheet piles.
The agreement would "get us to a point where, if we need to pull the trigger and plug the bays, we can do that," Neubauer said.
The city selected Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson based on its “considerable work” with the city during the 2011 Missouri River flood. During the flooding, the engineering consulting firm helped the city plug bays near the Bridgeview, Marina, Lakewood and Borden Harbor neighborhoods with clay.
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This time, the city plans to plug bays with sheet piles because it will reduce the number of trucks hauling material, causing “much less” property and city infrastructure damage, according to city staff.
"I don't think we would be allowed to plug the bays with clay like we did last time. There's been a lot more building activity in that area," Neubauer said.
The contract with Braun Intertec involves evaluating soil and rock conditions at the bays and designing the sheet pile walls.
The city could be eligible to have the cost of the agreements reimbursed should there be some sort of county, state or federal emergency declaration due to flooding. Morton County Emergency Management said it is "researching reimbursement options." If there is no declaration issued, the city would not be eligible for reimbursement, but the work done "would be valuable for years to come should the need arise," city staff said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency could help reimburse the project if there is a disaster declaration by President Donald Trump. Trump on Tuesday declared a disaster for 16 other North Dakota counties affected by flooding in October.
It was necessary for city commissioners to approve the agreements "expeditiously" because it could take 60 days to interview and select contractors to install the plugs, according to the request.
"If we wait until March or April to enter into these contracts, we would be well beyond, I think, too late, to get something done," Neubauer said.
Commissioner Dennis Rohr said Mandan needs to be prepared for the possibility of flooding.
"I think 2011 was a trial in experience in not knowing what to do right off the bat, and a lot of work went into the residents placing the sandbags and protection around their homes which ultimately was probably not badly needed once the plugs were placed in the bays," he said before voting in favor of the request. "I think this is a very appropriate time and very appropriate plan you've set out in preparation for anything that does happen."
Reach Andy Tsubasa Field at 701-250-8264 or email@example.com.