PHOENIX – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District leaders visited the New River Dam Outlet Channel Oct. 24 in Florence, Arizona, to recognize the completion of a project that restores the capability of five federally constructed channels in Maricopa County.
The repairs to the New River, New River Dam Outlet, Skunk Creek, Cave Creek and Agua Fria River channels began in November 2020 and were completed April 2022 by SWP Contracting & Paving of Arizona through a cooperation agreement between the Corps’ LA District and the Maricopa Flood Control District, under the authority of Public Law 84-99.
Public Law 84-99 is the discretionary authority given to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by Congress to act and react to emergencies caused by floods, contaminated water sources, droughts or dam failures. The authority allows the Corps to repair and/or rehabilitate any qualified flood control project (levee), whether it is federally constructed or privately owned.
“It was very exciting to see the work of our Public Law 84-99 actually completed for the five federally constructed levees in Maricopa County,” said Col. Julie Balten, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander. “It was just a fantastic opportunity to meet with our partners in the Maricopa County Flood Control District, and (it was) critical in our partnership to be able to provide and complete that project.”
The request for the repairs stemmed from a storm-related event that occurred in September 2014, when the five channels sustained significant damages in the form of erosion, scour and rip rap displacement.
In addition to repairing the projects to their pre-damaged condition, Maricopa County requested that the Corps of Engineers design and construct a vehicle access ramp that didn’t previously exist for the New River Dam Outlet Channel. The ramp was considered a “betterment” to the project, which is allowed under PL 84-99 authority.
“Maricopa County asked us if we could, as part of the project, design and construct a ramp down into the bed of the New River Channel levy,” Balten said. “We were able to use contributed funds and put that in as part of the project, which was a great feature for them to be able to easily access that channel and now be able to maintain it with much greater ease and ability.
The repairs restored the federal channels to their original conveyance capacity, reducing flood risk for residents in Maricopa County.
“Walking the site really gave us the perspective of the importance of that levy coming from a dam outlet and being able to basically channelize any flood control waters,” Balten added. “The project is going to then be able to really restore the level of flood protection for that levy and the community surrounding it.”
The Corps’ Emergency Management Branch will continue to coordinate closely with Maricopa County officials to close out the project and ensure the rehabilitated projects perform as designed.
The video about the completion of the project can be viewed at: USACE Partnership with Flood Control District of Maricopa County
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