Construction is anticipated to begin in 2024 on a long-awaited project to improve drainage and ease flooding concerns in southwest Minot.
The Puppy Dog Coulee drainage system covers the Dakota Square Mall area, generally from 37th Avenue SW to Thompson Lake, near Wellington Assisted Living on 24th Avenue SW.
City Engineer Lance Meyer said the 2024 project will construct 1,700 feet of box culverts between 16th Street SW and the area near McDonald’s, replace pipes under the access road between McDonald’s and Olive Garden and install new pipes near Best Buy and Buffalo Wings and Rings.
“This is one of the largest storm sewer projects we’ve ever done outside of flood control,” Meyer said. “The old metal culverts are undersized and that area is continuing to be developed. It’s finally to the point where we have to get it done.”
Funding for preliminary work on the project was approved at Monday’s City Council meeting as work begins in preparation for 2024.
“We have to get the engineering work going again; the plans have been on the shelf for five years. We need to finish acquiring easements, and get all the permits we need,” Meyer said.
The City twice sought approximately $9.4 million from the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but was turned down both times, Meyer said.
“Instead, we’ll use some federal funds from COVID-19 relief funds to offset about half of the approximately $16 million total cost,” he said.
The project will help solve potential flooding concerns with Puppy Dog Coulee, which is one of five major drainage basins around the city and covers roughly 9,500 acres.
Meyer said a series of large metal culverts was installed in the 1980s and 1990s, but those pipes are now failing. A 2015 project created three potential solutions, all of which included installing a double 12 foot-by-8 foot box culvert that is larger than the existing pipes.
When completed, the project would also remove some residential and commercial properties in the area from the 100-year flood plain.
Before Dakota Square Mall was built, Puppy Dog Coulee meandered through that area, and there was an open channel where the strip mall just west of the mall is located. Back then, a system of culverts started where Riddles Jewelry is now located and some of the culverts were extended in the early 1990s.
“This aging infrastructure is wearing out. In fact, the bottom of those culverts has rotted away already, and the rest of them could collapse, too, so time is of the essence now,” Meyer said.
“This is also kind of a flood control project,” Meyer added. “During large rain events, 16th Street SW near Green Acres tends to go underwater, and it’s unacceptable to have one of our main arterial streets having overland flooding. That stretch of 16th Street SW is taking on more importance as development continues and especially as Trinity Health opens its new hospital.”