Background: When the Mouse Roared
2011 was the year the Mouse roared. “Boil the Damn Water!” made national news, as well as kickstarting a pretty humorous YouTube video. But for our friends and neighbors in Minot impacted by the flood’s devastation, it was anything but funny.
Refusing to lose was a theme for the City of Minot. Staff working around the clock to protect as much as possible, then doing the same to fix what was lost or broken. At the same time, the City faced the challenge of history—how do we avoid the outmigration experienced in 1969 following the last devastating flood event? How do we ensure that Minot will emerge from this disaster stronger and safer than ever?
Recovery efforts were amazing to watch and to be part of—as one Corps of Engineers consultant said, “I’ve noticed you guys don’t wait around for the Government to do it for you.” Leadership on a local, State and Federal level worked together to prioritize and fix what the river destroyed and identify how to make Minot better than ever, all the while planning to muzzle the Mouse once and for all.
The Project: Minot Roared Back
One obvious target to ensure the future of Minot was the renovation of the Downtown infrastructure. Aged and aging underground and surface infrastructure could simply not support the vision of a modern, vibrant, revitalized heart of the City.
With input from local leaders and the business community, Minot’s own Senator John Hoeven spearheaded the effort to secure the cornerstone Economic Development Administration funds for the Downtown Revitalization efforts, with additional critical funding from Community Development Block Grant –Disaster Recovery funds, and ND State Water Commission funding. A large part of the project funding was provided locally as well, through storm sewer and street lighting district special assessments, utility bonds, and surge funding—demonstrating Minot’s commitment to its future and refusing to lose.
Throughout the project development and construction process, City officials, administration, and staff worked together with the Downtown Business and Professional Association to minimize project impacts and rapidly communicate construction activity to maintain business access. Downtown stayed open throughout the three-year construction period, meeting one of the most critical and ambitious project goals.
From the perspective of the technical team—the joint venture of Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) and MWH Americas (now part of Stantec), with partners Odney, Inc. and 505 Design—being a part of this historic effort was both challenging and satisfying.
Developing and implementing state-of-the-art software tools to expedite project design and help manage construction while working closely with the City and fellow Downtown businesses to revitalize the heart of Minot enabled us to do what we do best—provide sustainable, cost-effective infrastructure solutions.
The completion of the project was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony
in October 2017.
American Council of Engineering Companies of North Dakota (ACEC/ND) recognized this project with the 2018 Engineering Excellence Award
for its exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value.
The North Dakota Ready Mix and Concrete Products Association recognized this project with the Gold Star Award
in January 2018. This award recognizes projects across North Dakota for their excellence in concrete planning, execution, and construction.
The North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers (NDSPE) recognized this project with the state-level 2017 Outstanding Engineering Design Award
for its exceptional engineering design and success.
North Dakota Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) recognized this project with the 2018 Project of the Year Award.