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March 22, 1997: A 52-foot game plan

A decade ago this week, with a major flood fight approaching, the city of Grand Forks decided to build its dikes to 52 feet. That level would be the highest ever, in addition to 3 feet above the National Weather Service office's latest official f...

A decade ago this week, with a major flood fight approaching, the city of Grand Forks decided to build its dikes to 52 feet.

That level would be the highest ever, in addition to 3 feet above the National Weather Service office's latest official flood projection of 49 feet, the Herald reported.None of the city's dikes were built to 52 feet, City Engineer Ken Vein said, so all existing dikes needed raising, and new dikes would need to be built in places. And he preferred to leave the new dikes in place once the flooding ended, he added.

The City Council also gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers all easement, right-of-way and land access needed to fight the flood - all while holding the corps blameless for any of the work, Vein said.

Vein estimated that as much as 60,000 cubic yards of clay and as many as 2.5 million sandbags might be needed.

City officials said the city would handle all the clean up, though its emergency fund had little money available.

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