Diversion model open house set in Rosemount
FARGO — The public will have a chance to see a to-scale piece of the $1.8 billion metro-area diversion channel in action this month.
An open house is scheduled July 24 to view the diversion’s only physical model, with one caveat — it’s located in Rosemount, Minn., a four-hour drive from Fargo.
The $2.6 million, 80-by-70-foot model shows the project’s Maple River Aqueduct, where the diversion channel would pass under the Maple River northwest of West Fargo.
Diversion officials say the purpose of the model is to inform engineering teams how the project will work in the real world.
“I think the rationale in putting it in Rosemount was just that’s where the experts that needed to build it and to operate it were,” said Keith Berndt, Cass County administrator. “While it’s not ideal for the public viewing, that’s really not the intent of the model to be a public display. It’s a technical model to improve the project.”
Aaron Snyder, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Project Management Branch in St. Paul, described the aqueduct like a highway overpass running over an interstate. In this case, the Maple River is the “highway” running over the diversion, the “interstate.”
The project will also pull some water out of the Maple River before it reaches the aqueduct and dump it into the diversion channel.
Snyder agreed that the model is meant to help improve the project. It’s located near the Twin Cities because that’s where the design and engineering teams are, he said.
A physical model gives design teams additional information above and beyond computer modeling, he said.
“It really just informs us on where we may need to make changes in design,” Snyder said. “It also can verify our assumptions, can verify the structure is going to function as we anticipate. So it’s just an extra check.”
With a $60 million price tag on the aqueduct, those extra checks are important, Snyder said.
An artist’s rendering of the aqueduct shows a walkway and bike path running along and over the top of the diversion. Corps Project Manager Brett Coleman said those are just possibilities and options that need to be further vetted.
The diversion will have one other aqueduct where it meets the Sheyenne River southwest of Horace, Coleman said. The model for the Maple River Aqueduct will inform the corps on how to best design the Sheyenne structure as well, he said.