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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Roads Acting as Dams

Portions of the roadways near Devils Lake and Fort Totten, N.D., are elevated, protecting the existing transportation system, natural resources and human life from the rising waters of Devils Lake.  While some of the roadway sections act as dams, they were not originally designed to function as long-term dams or safely impound water.

The Central Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration in cooperation with the Spirit Lake Nation, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Highway Administration North Dakota Federal Aid Division, and the North Dakota Department of Transportation proposed safety improvements in an environmental assessment published in 2008.  The Central Federal Lands of Federal Highway Administration hired the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the design that relates to dam safety.  

Hanson, as part of the Bergmann-Hanson joint venture team, is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, to help complete a Design Documentation Report (DDR) for 12 miles of roads and embankments acting as dams adjacent to Devils Lake, N.D. 

The design and construction must satisfy Federal Highway Administration design criteria so that roadways and other embankments constructed for this project will safely impound water.

Hanson is completing alignment and features designs.  These services include embankment design that minimizes future construction costs; hydraulic design, including slope protection and riprap sizing; and process/standards design for utility and infrastructure features crossing the embankments.

Hanson also is providing technical specifications for the embankments to function as dams.

Project Quick Facts


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District


Devils Lake, ND

Date Completed:


Areas of Emphasis:

Emergency Response & Public Safety Levees, Flood Control & Dams U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Services Provided:

Geotechnical Engineering Planning Transportation Engineering Water Resources Engineering



"This was a complex project involving dam safety design with challenging geotechnical issues on a tight schedule.  Bergmann Hanson were good to work with."

" ~Bonnie Greenleaf, Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District