Ring levee project manager says delay ordered by judge may cost taxpayers millions of dollars

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FARGO, North Dakota — The manager of a ring levee project south of Fargo says a judge's decision to halt construction could cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim last week put the project on hold when he ruled that the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority should wait for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to complete an environmental study on the planned $2 billion Red River diversion.

The levee would protect structures where floodwaters would be staged when the diversion is in operation.

Project manager Bruce Spiller says in court documents that the loss of the 2015 construction season would result in nearly $1.2 million in additional costs. He says the delay would cost at least another $1 million if it stretches into 2016.

The diversion authority is appealing Tunheim's order.

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