Buckman Coulee Diversion Project Receives Engineering Excellence Award

Buckman Coulee Diversion Project in Zumbro Falls Receives Engineering Excellence Award.

Stantec, a St. Paul engineering firm, receives a Grand Award for engineering excellence for its design work on the Buckman Coulee Diversion Project in Zumbro Falls, Minnesota.

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC-MN) sponsored the annual design competition. The 48th annual ACEC/MN Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet drew over 250 attendees to the Commons Hotel in Minneapolis on January 30, 2015.

A Grand Award recognized the team’s design of roadway and drainage improvements that addressed flooding in the City of Zumbro Falls.

Following a devastating 2010 flood, city officials sought to mitigate the impact of future disasters – they wanted something that gave them the strength to quickly recover as well. They wanted a system that was easy to maintain and kept their people safe. The channel design can handle large and small storm events (100 year storm events) minimizing the potential for channel erosion, sediment deposition and costly maintenance repairs.

Stantec’s design redirected water from flood-prone areas to an innovative two-stage (high/low flow) diversion channel with a series of steps that gradually conveys storm water to the Zumbro River. A backflow prevention device allows the City to manually control and prevent floodwater from the river from backing into a community park. This system required the reconstruction of intersection TH60/63 state highways in Zumbro Falls, removing four bridges, and constructing a new twin box culvert. The happy byproduct? New intersection geometrics led to enhanced safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. This solution succeeded in mitigating future flooding potential, enabled additional drainage and roadway improvements, and transformed the Buckman Coulee from an unsightly safety hazard into an aesthetic green space and prairie habitat.

The Buckman Coulee Diversion Project was a two phase design plan. Phase l began 8/27/2012 and was completed 11/14/2012. Phase ll began 9/9/2013 and was completed 11/13/2013.