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Ravine project awaits funding approval

Newport is awaiting Minnesota Department of Transportation approval to go ahead with a $1.8 million project to stabilize the city's North Ravine.

Newport City Council members earlier this month approved the project and assessments to adjacent properties. But the city now must wait for department of transportation officials to OK the release of $650,000 in Wakota Bridge settlement funding, awarded to the city because of numerous delays in the bridge construction project, for use in the North Ravine Stabilization Project.

The project is needed, city engineer John Stewart says, to prevent continued erosion and flooding in the area after heavy rains. A strong thunderstorm in the summer of 2007 flooded a portion of Hastings Avenue with up to 3 feet of water, Stewart said.

Newport will construct a two-acre holding pond to collect and treat storm run-off as part of the project. Erosion control fabric and large rocks, called "rip rap," will also be laid to prevent erosion of the ravine.

The South Washington Watershed District will also construct rain gardens.

Funding sources for the roughly $1.8 million project break down as follows: $966,000 from the South Washington Watershed District, $650,000 from MnDOT, and $204,000 from the City of Newport and assessments of benefiting properties.

Stewart said it appears likely work on the project will not begin until spring 2010.