Elk Ridge Community Prepares For Flooding
ELK RIDGE, Utah – Most people have heard the statement, ‘hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.’ The community in Elk Ridge is taking those words to heart. In two days, residents have loaded more than 50,000 sand bags in preparation for a deluge of rain expected Tuesday morning.
Jan Newman has lived in Elk Ridge for about 30 years.
“This is the first time ever I’ve seen us all do sandbags,” said Newman. “Something is different with this one.”
The shared concern is the road leading from Loafer Canyon will act as a funnel and carry debris directly into the homes below. It’s an area that was evacuated by the major wildfires, and now is bracing for possible floodwaters from the burn scars.
Newman plans to stay busy as long as his body allows him.
“I know all these people,” he said motioning to the hundreds of residents filling sandbags. “If it was my house, they’d be there. We all just pitch in.”
The Utah Department of Transportation is even helping, regardless of the fact that state roads are not being affected.
“This is not something we do every day,” John Gleason, with UDOT said.
However, when the call for help comes, it doesn’t really matter where jurisdiction begins or ends. UDOT crews are staying through the night to line up 3,000 feet of concrete barriers they hope will divert a possible debris flow.
“There is no telling with Mother Nature, but if it happens where they’re predicting it will happen with the burn scar, this will absolutely help,” Gleason said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed that these efforts are going to pay off.”
Late Monday evening, the National Guard arrived, positioning their heavy equipment to be ready when the rain begins to fall.
“To be working side by side with community members means a lot and most of the people involved in this are volunteering,” Major D.J. Gibb with the Utah National Guard said. “They want to be involved in the flooding prevention effort up here.”
More than 200 soldiers will be in the area by Tuesday morning. The boots are on the ground, barriers are set, and thousands of helping hands are working as fast as they can.
“We want to be prepared but have faith that things will be OK,” Newman said.
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