UDOT clearing debris to prevent highway flooding

Mar 24, 2023, 4:56 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 11:53 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this year snow was a big danger for drivers but now it’s becoming rain and wet roads.

The Utah Department of Transportation is working now to get ahead of potential flooding that could add to the driving dangers.

With a rise in temperatures recently UDOT crews are working statewide to take care of hazards that could make driving more treacherous.

“We are going to see water coming down the mountains, water in places that we don’t really experience it and we could see a very good potential for flooding,” John Gleason from UDOT said. “Not only can drastic amounts of water create unsafe roads to drive on, but without the right treatment and preparation, flooding can make some roads nearly impossible to drive.”

Residential areas along the Wasatch Front are preparing for the same problem.

They started working proactively to minimize flooding that may happen when the snowmelt runoff really gets going in the next couple of months.

A Salt Lake County Engineering crew joined Flood Control crews to pull debris from Little Cottonwood Creek in Cottonwood Heights Thursday.

With a record amount of water piled up in the snowpack at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, hydrologists and emergency managers already know that the creek and many others will be filled to the banks with runoff starting in May, and lasting into June.

Creek clearing is underway in Salt Lake to minimize threat of flooding

“It’s an overwhelming amount of water and debris that can really plug up those culverts and drainage systems and once those get clogged, that’s really when you see the water go everywhere,” Gleason said. “We are ordering heavy equipment, those excavators, bulldozers equipment that can be very useful in those types of situations.”

DOT has ordered 350,000 sandbags and it’s working to get an additional 1.5 million with other state agencies and local municipalities.

Gleason said, “Whether it’s rain, sleet, or snow, driving in those conditions it’s important to slow down. We just want to make sure that our state is prepared for any potential flooding.”

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