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BC to fix Clausen's dam

April 13, 2012

Clausen Springs has one more hurdle to jump before the park can be returned to its former glory.

The Barnes County Park Board has hired Kadrmas Lee and Jackson to do the engineering for repairs to approximately 2 miles of road in the park from the entrance to the dam. The road was demolished during construction on the dam that wrapped up late last summer.

KLJ engineer Chad Peterson said the county has FEMA funding to cover most of the work, as long as it stays within the agency's assessment.

"FEMA funded removing two inches of pavement, putting down fabric and then putting 2 to 2.5 inches of new asphalt down," said Peterson. "In order to maintain that road better when they were doing construction, basically the existing asphalt that was there was ground up into gravel so they could blade it and have something a little more maintainable; broken-up asphalt is a little tougher to blade and maintain."

Peterson said he would have liked to see additional gravel between the fabric and the asphalt, with the asphalt having a 3-inch lift.

"FEMA would consider that an 'improve project,' which you can do, but once you do an improve project that's outside of the original scope from the PW (project worksheet, FEMA's write up of the assesed damage and project costs), then the funding is capped at what the original PW amount was. If you stay within the scope of work was that FEMA wrote the PW for, when the bids come in higher than what the estimates were, they'll pay at the same percentages as the existing PW has listed," said Peterson.

The emergency spillway on the Clausen Springs Dam began to erode in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 16, 2009, during the worst flood on record in the area. The National Guard had used helicopters to strengthen the dam with 1-ton sandbags, and the 55 residents of the city of Kathryn, downstream from the dam, were evacuated the day before after officials went door to door telling them to leave.

The task of repairing the dam fell to the Barnes County Water Resource District Board, who dealt with five different contractors to try to get the work done. The relationship with the water board and one contractor, Sellin Brothers, ended in a lawsuit that was settled out of court.
"I can't really say too much about the lawsuit," said water board secretary Jamie Smith on Thursday.

"For the spring emergency work to do the armament, there were three different contractors. Two other contractors were involved in the new construction."

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