Minnesota DOT Flood Mitigation Program

The state of Minnesota created a $50 million Minnesota Department of Transportation (“MnDOT”) Flood Mitigation Program (“Program”) to increase the resilience of transportation system after severe spring floods in 2010 caused over $64 million in damages in the state. The Flood Mitigation Program will fund repairs, elevations, and realignments to road and bridges, as well as improvements to drainage structures. Although the program documents do not explicitly cite to climate change, MnDOT lists the Flood Mitigation Program as an adaptation action that the agency is taking to prepare for climate change. Funding for the program is dedicated to projects that “ensure long-term sustainability” for flood-prone transportation infrastructure in the state and the program is designed to make investment in infrastructure improvements to reduce flood risks.

In an FHWA-funded pilot project, MnDOT completed a Flash Flood Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment Pilot Project where the agency assessed the vulnerability of the state’s transportation infrastructure to climate change and developed climate change projections. The agency is planning for projected climate change impacts, including increased frequency and intensity of rainfall events. MnDOT has identified a number of adaptation initiatives, including assessing the infrastructure most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and finding cost-effective means to reduce the vulnerability.  Upon the announcement of the Flood Mitigation Program in 2010, former MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel said that the program would reduce the state’s maintenance costs and would provide communities with a safer and more sustainable transportation system.

Mitigation projects that have been funded through the program include the following:

  • The state is elevating the road and bridge as part of the Southwest Reconnection Project for Highways 101 on 61. The project includes the construction of a new bridge across the floodplain north of the Minnesota River to elevate the roadway out of the 100-year flood zone. The project is designed to reduce the frequency and length of road closures due to seasonal flooding. The Southwest Reconnection Project is funded with $20 million from the MnDOT Flood Mitigation Program. The total project cost is expected to be $54 million, and construction is scheduled to be completed by June 2016.
  • Program funding is also being use to partially fund the Hwy 75 Realignment Project near Kent, Minnesota. The Hwy 75 Realignment Project includes the construction of a rail bridge and highway improvements to reduce flooding and elevate the roadway out of the 100 year flood zone. MnDOT will construct a new highway bridge and bypass of one mile of the existing highway. The Flood Mitigation Program is providing $6 million in funding for the project, which is expected to cost a total of $9 million. Hwy 75 Realignment Project is scheduled for construction from 2015 to 2016.
  • The state is also raising existing roadways including Highway 25 next to the south fork of the Crow River in Carver County, Highway 1 near Murphy City, Highway 9 south of Ada, Highway 310 near Roseau, Highway 75 north of Humboldt, Highway 14 between Tyler and Florence, Highways 22 and Highway 169 in and around St. Peter, and Highway 108 near Rice Lake.
  • The state is also replacing culverts to better water drainage for Highway 61 south of Grand Marais, Highway 108 west of Pelican Rapids in Norwegian Grove township, Highway 12 east of Ortonville, and Highway 200 west of Ada, among others.

It is unclear to what degree these projects were designed with specific projections on how climate change will increase precipitation in the region and increase risks of flooding.

Minnesota has funded the Flood Mitigation Program through bond issuance – raising $10 million in bonds each year from 2011 through 2016. The Chapter 152 Bonds used to fund the program are issued by the state pursuant to existing statutory authority. All projects included in the MnDOT Flood Mitigation Program must complete construction by fiscal year 2016.

 

This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on October 31, 2016.

 

Related Organizations:

  • Minnesota Department of Transportation

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