Roads Acting as Dams (RAADs)


Ames built 9.5 miles of earthen dam structures with roads for reservoir control at Devils Lake in central North Dakota. The project was designed to prevent flooding on the Spirit Lake Reservation and into the Sheyenne River.

Six earthen dam structures on reservation land abutting Devils Lake were designed and constructed to align with stringent U.S. Bureau of Reclamation standards. Crews installed temporary sheet piling to hold back the water and stabilize the site in order to excavate unsuitable soils, replacing them with clay obtained from local sources.

When the cleanout was complete, crews built the dam to the plan’s elevation. With the project designed for flood control, sand was added to protect the integrity of the dam and provide drainage. About five miles of piping, including perforated PVC underground piping, was incorporated with the sand drain.

Upon completing construction of the embankment, crews constructed roads on top of the dams. In a follow-up contract, Ames performed the grading site preparation for a pump station and pipeline projects.

About 250 Ames employees, subcontractors, and truck drivers were on site. The contract required the use of 75 percent Native American labor, with Ames hiring as much as possible from the reservation, other Native American labor, and minorities. In addition, every subcontractor and on-site worker was required to be approved by the tribe and issued a license to work.