ST. GEORGE — Groundwater bubbling up through the asphalt and flowing across the road at 100 South and 1000 East is causing problems for both drivers and city workers by cracking the asphalt and degrading the road surface.
The groundwater problem at the intersection has been there as long as anyone can remember, St. George City Public Works Director Cameron Cutler said, and it’s not the only place in the city where the problem occurs.
“Groundwater has been a problem throughout the city ever since buildings and infrastructure have been constructed in the area,” Cutler said.
For example, when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built the St. George Temple, the ground was very marshy and soft because of groundwater.
When they built St. George Fire Station No. 1, at 51 S. 1000 East, water was discovered coming out of the sandstone, Cutler said.
At the intersection of 100 South and 1000 East, a perforated pipe has been in the ground for 12-15 years. However, the pipe periodically fills up with tree roots and stops functioning, so city crews have been dealing with the problem by cleaning out the drain pipe, Cutler said. This worked for several months before the roots would grow back and water would start seeping up into the roadway again.
But now, cleaning out the drain pipe is not stopping the groundwater anymore so the city has been patching the asphalt while planning more extensive repairs.
“It needs to be redone, and get a little deeper and see if we can capture the groundwater so it’s not coming up in the roadway,” Cutler said.
Meanwhile, the city has received some complaints about the road, and some residents are concerned about the safety risks of freezing water on the road’s surface, Cutler said. Although there is not much water on the road at any given time, the city has been salting the area to avoid potential problems.
Plans are to extend the drain pipe under 100 South from the north side of the street across the intersection to the southeast side.
In addition to the drain pipe, a drainage trench will be built 4 feet under the road from the north side of 100 South to the southeast side, Cutler said, and it will be tied into the gutter system.
“Whether it makes it all the way into the pipe or not, at least it will hit that trench and … now it will have a connection to the south,” Cutler said. “Based on our observations and what we know about it, that’s the best solution we can come up with.”
Historic spring water
There are several places around town where groundwater bubbles up to the surface and the city tries to channel the water into the storm drain system.
“We’ve got (water sources) up on this Red Hill where the pioneers — when they settled the valley early on — they went and dug them up and tapped them and used them,” Cutler said.
One example is Temple Springs, which flows out of the hillside north of St. George Boulevard between 700 East and 900 East. The pioneers ran a pipe from the springs to the LDS temple at 250 E. 400 South.
“And they’ve utilized it ever since,” Cutler said. “And it still runs water today.”
The water is used for irrigation, as are most other groundwater sources in the city.
The repairs are scheduled for February or March, as soon as the ground warms up. City crews are planning to work at night to avoid too much traffic disruption on the busy road, Cutler said. Repairs cannot be done if nighttime temperatures are too low to work with concrete and asphalt.
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