Washington City residents appear to favor one option for Main Street flood control

WASHINGTON CITY — City officials are planning to give Washington City’s Main Street a makeover with the intent of improving flood control.

Attendees at an open house showing proposed improvements for Main Street aimed at better flood control eye Option 5, which officials said was the most popular option, Washington City, Utah, April 4, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Last Thursday an open house was held at the city offices displaying five possible options for improvements to Main Street. The purpose of the open house meeting was to get input from Main Street residents and others concerning five options.

“From that the City Council will take that input and (it) will help them make the decision of a design style,” Washington City Manager Roger Carter said.

Each option creates a five-lane roadway with curbs and gutters lining both sides of the street with designs becoming varied after that point.

Two of the designs invert the middle of Main Street in a similar fashion to St. George’s “Flood Street,” aka 400 East, which moves water to the center of the road and away from homes.

“The ultimate goal is to deal with the stormwater issue,” said Mike Shaw, Washington City’s public works director.

During the region’s monsoon season last year, Washington City was hit by downpours in July and August that overwhelmed the city’s stormwater drainage system and brought heavy flooding on Main Street.

The Washington City Council met soon after the second flood to consider new flood control options.

Flooding in the area of Main Street and 200 North in Washington City following heavy monsoonal rainfall, Washington City, Utah, July 13, 2018 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Read more: Washington City considers possible solutions to Main Street flooding

City Council approved a flood control measure that would create two detention basins to catch the stormwater before it reached Main Street. Construction is set to begin later this month, Shaw said.

As for improvements to Main Street, whatever design the City Council chooses, it is anticipated overall work would be completed around June 2019, he said.

Future construction will include installation of a new sewer line that is a part of the city’s master plan, the lowering of other underground lines to accommodate a potentially inverted roadway and the city claiming its right of way along the road.

The city has a 93.5-foot right-of-way for Main Street, Shaw said. The front yards of some residences on Main Street extend into the city’s right-of-way, he said.

As for the proposed improvement options shown as the open house, Shaw said the majority of attendees he spoke to were very much in favor of the fifth option.

Option 5 has an inverted, landscaped median that would collect and slow the stormwater, and bike lanes on either side of the road. It also features pull-out areas along the road where people can pull over and park like on Santa Clara Drive through Santa Clara.

Washington City officials want give Main Street a makeover that would help prevent flooding. Proposed improvements to the street were the topic of an open house held at the city offices last week, Washington City, Utah, April 4, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“Main Street needs improvement,” Washington City resident Cade Hoff said, adding he favored Option 5 as well. “It looks like they may be able to make something work.”

Hoff said he nonetheless remains concerned about the so-called “100-year” flood events that tend to overpower the city’s drainage infrastructure.

Panels displaying Option 5 and the other options included how much cubic water per second they can handle in a flood event, Shaw said. July 2018’s flood event measured 350 cubic feet per second. Option 5 is engineered to handle 830, with other options taking as much and more.

Improvements to Main Street are being done regardless of other projects currently hovering over the area, Carter said, referring to the Utah Department of Transportation’s Milepost 11 Project. The project could connect Main Street to an I-15 interchange in the future.

Read more: Main Street interchange is preferred solution for area traffic woes

However, the city certainly won’t do anything on Main Street that could conflict with the Milepost 11 Project as far as they know, Carter said. Construction on a potential I-15 interchange may still be years away.

Tom Leeds, whose home sits on the corner of Main Street and 200 East, said the improvements weren’t needed, but that the city instead needs to focus on stopping the flooding on the opposite side of I-15 before it reaches the Main Street underpass.

“It’s the (city) leaders’ fault for they haven’t corrected it before now,” Leeds said.

A five-lane highway through a residential area is a bad idea, Leeds added, and claimed city leaders and developers want to get rid of the downtown residential area in favor of turning it in a commercial zone.

“They’ve been complicit,” he said.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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