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MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Work has begun on the first three phases of a long-term flood protection project in the city of Minot for the Souris River Valley.

City officials were joined by U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford and Col. Sam Calkins with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday, the Minot Daily News reported .

“We are committed to this project,” said Calkins at the ceremony.

Flooding in 2011 caused an estimated $1 billion in damage in the region and prompted the evacuation of more than 11,000 people in Minot.

Hoeven said the first three phases that are beginning will secure protection for more than half of the city. They’re expected to be completed by 2020.

“We have to keep working on the final phases to get this done,” Hoeven said. “We need this flood protection. We need to keep going because we need to cover the whole area from Burlington to Velva.”

The basin-wide flood protection project could cost about $1 billion by the time it’s complete. Legislation in Congress includes funding for a federal study that’s key to building the fourth stage.

“North Dakota can’t reach its fullest potential until those communities reach theirs,” Sanford said. “This project brings Minot one step closer to meeting its fullest potential.”

The state has committed $178 million to the project, and could provide another $130 million.


Information from: Minot Daily News,