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East Grand Forks Invisible Floodwall

East Grand Forks Invisible Floodwall


Following historic flooding that devastated East Grand Forks, Minnesota, the City needed a solution to keep the Red River at bay during high water events. Another challenge was getting the downtown business district up and running following the flood.


SEH worked closely with the City and the Army Corps of Engineers to develop an “invisible” floodwall system that protects against future flood events. The system uses a permanent foundation and base wall and columns placed every 60 feet. Slots in the columns receive aluminum panels that City crews are able to install in advance of an impending flood. When the panels are not in use, the views of the Red River from downtown remain unobstructed. Decorative pilasters and brick facing were used in this downtown park setting, creating an esthetic amenity in the waterfront park. The project team also utilized economic development funds to help the downtown business rebuild itself.


  • Seven Wonders of Engineering by the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers

Project Name  
East Grand Forks Invisible Floodwall

East Grand Forks, Minnesota

US Army Corps of Engineers – St. Paul District


  • 1,040 feet of “invisible” flood wall
  • Additional permanent walls, road closures and levees constructed beyond the ends of the wall
  • Columns and aluminum panels to provide 210-year flood protection


  • Structural engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering