Washington City moves ahead with Main Street flood control efforts

Main Street facing the I-15 overpass, Washington City, Utah, April 4, 2019 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY A street in Washington City with a reputation for flooding during the monsoon season will getting an overhaul over the next year thanks to City Council approving a plan to rebuild the road with flood control in mind.

A design chosen by the Washington City Council as a part of flood control efforts on Main Street features five lanes, an inverted median, bicycle lanes and curb and gutter along the road, Washington City, Utah, April 4, 2019 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Council approved one of five options presented the public during an open house meeting in early April. A number of residents who attended the open house favored “Option 5,” which widens Main Street with two lanes in either direction, separated by an inverted median designed to funnel floodwater down the middle of the street.

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

Council members also favored Option 5 and approved the design during their April 24 meeting.

In addition to the extra travel lanes, Option 5 also adds bike lanes along with curb and gutter along the road.

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

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

Among the options the city adopted was the construction of two new detention basins designed to catch flooding stormwater before it reaches Main Street.

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

The July flood event measured 350 cubic feet per second. The Option 5 design the city adopted is engineered to handle 830.

Read more: Homes flood, power goes out as ‘significant’ rainfall hits Washington City

Mike Shaw, Washington City’s public works director, gave the City Council an update Wednesday that letters have been sent to property owners along Main Street to meet with public works and engineers in charge of the project. There have been 20 responses thus far.

The purpose of the letters is to gain input from property owners about how to best address their needs – such as driveway and irrigation access – related to the Main Street reconstruction.

It is expected to take at least six months to go through the engineering process and six months to rebuild the road, Shaw said, putting the completion of the project around June 2020.

“It’s going to be a very complicated process,” he said.

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

One aspect of the project many property owners will have to deal with is losing a part of their front yards, as the city has a 93.5-foot right-of-way for Main Street, Shaw said.

Not all residents favor the change however, as there are concerns the project is really meant to go along with the pending highway interchange the Utah Department of Transportation has proposed to connect with Main Street.

There are fears among Main Street and downtown residents that an interchange that empties into a residential area in the heart of downtown Washington City will ultimately destroy it.

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

City Manager Roger Carter previously told St. George News the city wouldn’t knowingly do anything to conflict with the UDOT project, and repeated that the Main Street redesign is being done for flood control and isn’t connected to the potential I-15 interchange.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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

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