Looking ahead: Tentative timeline for F-M diversion plans

FARGO – Several variables will influence how quickly or slowly plans for the Red River diversion move forward.

Given all those moving pieces, officials can offer only best-guess estimates as to when each step in the process might play out.

The following dates are based on the swiftest possible timeline, according to forecasts by Diversion Authority consultants. This doesn’t account for possible delays, such as legal challenges or a lack of available funding. Because of the size of the project, many phases will overlap and take several years.

  • 2011 through 2017: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local consultants design the channel and its features.
  • April 2012: The assistant secretary of the Army’s civil works division signs a “Record of Decision,” the final procedural hurdle before Congress can consider the diversion plans.
  • 2012-13: Congress could pass a Water Resources Development Act, needed to authorize the Red River diversion as an official project.
  • Late 2013: Pending congressional authorization, the Army Corps and Diversion Authority sign a partnership agreement that allows construction and property acquisition to start.
  • Late 2013 through 2020: Officials purchase the land necessary to build the Red River diversion, with plans to complete land acquisition no later than the end of 2020. If needed, property could also be purchased to mitigate the project’s impacts outside the channel.
  • Spring 2014 through 2021: Crews will construct the 35-mile long, half-mile wide channel, starting at the northern end and working south. Construction might be complete by the end of 2021 at the earliest.

Source: CH2M Hill, as of Jan. 12, 2012.