The final phase in a decade-long flood protection project is expected to finish this spring, according to flood control officials.
Construction for the second phase of the Alberta Watershed Project is projected to meet substantial completion by March 27 and full completion by April 27, according to Chuck Thomas, executive engineer with the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority. The project includes the paving of Alberta Drive from Saratoga Road to NM 528 and installing nearly 3,640 feet of storm drain.
Franklin’s Earthmoving began construction on the project’s second phase on Nov. 30, blocking traffic on NM 528 from entering Alberta Drive.
The watershed project is meant to safely direct water from a nearby active arroyo channel in the area through Alberta Road and to a different safe channel, Thomas said. The first phase of the Alberta Watershed Project was constructed and completed between 2006 and 2008. Thomas said although the planning for the second phase began in 2008, the project was put on hold until he joined SSCAFCA.
“When I came on board in 2011, this was clearly one of the projects that was in line to move forward with,” he said. “We had these storm events in 2013 where everybody got hit … We met with residents that were very concerned that they were going to be hit by floods, so that’s when we started pursuing the federal funding.”
The watershed project has utilized $1.8 million in funds from the state Legislature ($400,000), a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency ($1.004 million), state match funds ($160,000) and SSCAFCA bond funds.
David Gatterman, environmental service director and project management for construction, said Franklin’s Earthmoving has had to work with the city on the project due to infrastructure and utilities located beneath the construction site. Gatterman said he was thankful for the patience and input of residents in the area.
“They understand they’re being inconvenienced, but in the end they won’t have the need to keep from being hit when it rains,” Gatterman said.
After years of planning, Thomas said he’s excited for the residents in the area to have the flood control project near completion.
“When your home gets flooded, it’s coming into your home – it’s damaging things that are very close to you,” Thomas said. “Being able to kind of see this project finally come into fruition and get put in place with the storm drains, it’s kind of exciting to just be able to stand back and say, ‘Yeah, we got this accomplished; there’s something here.’ It’s a very tangible protection that the residents can see.”