Public meetings should be held soon for the Fresno Safety of Dams Project – Hi-Line Today

HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – At the St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Working Group meeting Friday, Bureau of Reclamation engineer Steve Darlinton provided an update on the Fresno Safety of Dams project.

Darlinton said at a recent meeting of the Dam Safety Advisory Team that spillway repairs were added to the project, raising the total estimated cost from $71 to $77 million.

Designs are expected to be fully completed by early to mid-February, with the contract being tendered by June and awarded by March 2023. Earthmoving and drainage will follow.

The negotiation basis has recently been approved by the BOR officer, allowing the process to move forward to commencement of the repayment agreements.

“(We) send out letters to the communities and the irrigation districts and the pumpers,” says Darlinton. “It is also the step we have been waiting for to start public gatherings. So we will be working with the Irrigation Districts and Jen (Patrick) to schedule and publicize these public meetings once we have those letters and contracts out. So people have a chance to look at them, to digest them a little bit. And if there are questions, we can answer them.”

Construction is expected to take three years, and Darlinton said impact on irrigation systems and fisheries will be minimal during the project.

The federal government covers 85 percent of the costs, the other 15 percent has to be borne by the water users. This amount can be paid over 50 years and without interest.

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