US$1.2 billion North Dakota Red River Water project coming to life

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Construction on the Red River Water project in North Dakota is beginning to take shape with workers breaking ground on building the intake and discharge facilities for the supply project. In early August, contractor Garney Construction carefully buried the first 72-inch diameter spiral-wound, concrete-lined, polyurethane-coated pipe in the ground just south of Carrington in central North Dakota, marking the start of a 165-mile pipeline. This preliminary open-cut pipe-laying project also includes digging beneath a roadway and a pair of train tracks. The first mile and a half of the pipeline will cost US$8.3 million. To avoid cold conditions, engineers will bury the whole length of the pipeline 7 feet deep.

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Industrial Builders Inc fulfilled its US$1.5 million contract for a discharge facility at the pipeline’s eastern end to release piped water into the Sheyenne River in a non-erosive manner. Meanwhile, on the extreme west end of the project, another contractor, ICS Inc, is nearing the completion of a roughly US$5 million intake wet well to collect water from the Missouri River. Michels Corp., another contractor, is prepared to drill a tunnel from the river to the wet well, with completion scheduled for September 2022.

More on the Red River Water Project

The pipeline project revolves entirely around dry times. It will build infrastructure to avoid the worst consequences of future severe droughts like the one that hit North Dakota in the 1930s. The massive engineering project may alternatively be described as a story of two rivers, the big Missouri River in the west and the Red River in the east. During their tenure, the project’s directors have encountered obstacles, including political involvement from states lower on the continent through which the Missouri River flows on its path to its confluence with the Mississippi River. The completion date for the Red River Project has been scheduled for the next 10 years at least.