DAKOTA, Minnesota (WXOW)-- The I-90 Dresbach bridge project is well underway and the general contractor for the project, Ames Construction Inc., is partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to utilize existing sand material for the construction.
Dakota Island is a placement site where the Army Corps of Engineers stores dredge material from the river. The island is currently at capacity, so Ames construction is taking the sand and using it for the bridge project.
"We off load our temporary placement sites once every ten years, as a rough average," said Zach Kimmel, the channel maintenance coordinator for the Corps. "And we're looking for different beneficial uses of our dredge material to help save the federal government money."
Dakota Island, located in Navigation Pool 7, is currently at capacity, with 250,000 cubic yards of sand, that's the result of channel maintenance dredging operations.
"The placement site is full, so we don't really have a lot of places to go with dredge material, that's one of the increasing problems that we're running in to," Kimmel said.
But rather than pay the cost of excavating the site, the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Fish and Wildlife services are giving it to Ames Construction for the I-90 Bridge Project.
"We had to do some additional testing on the material to make sure it would meet the project specifications," said Ben Lovin, Project Manager for Ames Construction. "We're using the sand from Dakota Island build the embankments for the new roadway."
Ames Construction is responsible for transporting the sand down river to the construction site.
"To do that, Ames has two pieces of equipment at the island, we load barges in the afternoon and evening, then each night we move approximately 2400 cubic yards of material down the river, through lock and dam number 7," Lovin said.
Utilizing the sand not only provides free materials for the bridge project, but it saves the Corp the cost of moving it.
"I think the mutual benefit is phenomenal," Kimmel said. "It'll end up saving the government about $2.5 million in excavation costs alone."
The plan is to use all the sand on Dakota Island and the goal is to complete the project in three months, before the river freezes. The construction area on the island is temporally closed to the public for safety reasons.
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