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Fri April 23 2021

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PPP for $1.8bn US flood prevention scheme

7 Sep 15 Authorities in the US states of Minnesota and North Dakota have decided to use a public-private partnership to deliver the majority of a US$1.8bn (£1.2bn) flood prevention scheme.

The Fargo-Moorhead (FM) area diversion project will create a 565m3 per second, 58km-long, 455m-wide diversion channel. There will also be 80,300ha of upstream staging, which will be used for floods exceeding a 10-year event.

The plan was chosen after years of study carried out by local authorities in the area around Fargo in North Dakota and Moorhead in Minnesota.  The scheme would reduce a 100-year flood event from 12.9m to 10.7m at the Fargo gage. The 2009 flood peaked at 12.4m. It is not be designed to prevent a 500-year flood event but the scheme would help the area by reducing the river level in Fargo from 14.2m to 12.2m.

The Flood Diversion Board of Authority for the area has decided to use a PPP split delivery model. The majority of the project will be delivered through a PPP, with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) using traditional design-bid-build (DBB) methods for the remainder.

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“It’s the surest route to federal dollars,” said Keith Berndt, Cass County Administrator. “The Authority gets schedule and cost certainty. It delivers the best value for the public’s money, provides performance guarantees and long-term warranties that otherwise would not be available, promotes delivery innovation, and shortens the schedule to achieve flood risk reduction sooner than we otherwise could.”

The portion that the Diversion Authority will implement are collectively referred to as the diversion channel and associated infrastructure work package (DCAI WP). It includes channels, aqueducts, river inlets and bridges.  The part that USACE will implement through traditional methods are collectively referred to as the southern embankment and associated infrastructure (SEAI).

The Diversion Authority intends to seek competitive PPP and enter into a single agreement with a developer for the design, build, finance, operation, and maintenance of the DCAI WP. Prior to the start of the procurement process, the Diversion Authority intends to have one or more industry forums. There will be a two-phase procurement with a request for qualifications phase followed by a request for proposals.

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