Home » Business » Flooding concerns prompt City to suspend vacations and reassign staff to clearing washes.
Flooding concerns prompt City to suspend vacations and reassign staff to clearing washes.
The view of Connie's bridge upstream where work by City crews has already begun. Photo by LCGross.

Flooding concerns prompt City to suspend vacations and reassign staff to clearing washes.

The City of Globe declared a State of Emergency last night during a special meeting held at City Hall. 

The declaration allows for more legal and operational latitude by Mayor and Council in managing the very real threat of flooding which the City is facing as a result of the Pinal Fire.  It was announced last night that all scheduled vacations have been suspended and staff are being reassigned to work on the flooding concern. 

The City is partnering with the County to clear washes throughout the affected areas where they are responsible for approximately 5 of the 22.5 miles of waterways including sections of Pinal Creek and Russell Gulch. Jerry Barnes,Director of Public Works, said they are waiting on the green light from the County who applied for a $300,000  Emergency Watershed Protection grant this week and should know if they get the funds by Monday. (See County Applies for Federal Flood funds)

 The City portion of that grant funding would be approximately $66,000 according to Barnes.

“We will go through that pretty quickly with overtime and the work that needs to be done,” Barnes says. The grant calls for all dead and down brush and “live brush less than 8″ in diameter” be removed within ten days from receipt of the funds.

**In a clarification tonight we are amending the above statement. It initally read live brush larger than 8″ in diameter. According to the City, they cannot alter the waterway or remove live trees more than 8″ in diameter. We apologize for the error.

In the water channel for watershed protection we are only allowed to remove dead & down brush and live brush less than 8″ in diameter. We cannot alter the waterway or remove live trees more than 8″ diameter.

Tony Brusca, who owns a building on Broad street is concerned that the 2ft concrete wall will not be enough to keep a high intensity flow with debris from the mountain from overflowing. The photo was taken directly behind his building on Broad. Large trees like these seen growing in the wash is the kind of growth which can impede flows and allow debris to hang up in the wash that has officials concerned. Photo by LCGross 

Barnes says he has two City crews that are already working to clear the washes and has recently been doing extensive work at Connie’s bridge. There is valid concern over the integrity of the bridge during a high intensity flow because ADOT declared the bridge “structurally deficient” several years ago. Barnes says the City has applied for grants to address the issue, but the rains are expected to come well before any grant monies.

“We are putting equipment on both sides of the creek at this area just in case.” 

The bridge which, for many, is the only way in and out of the Canyons and the Pinals, is a critical juncture which the City is well aware of and working against the clock to ensure it holds. 

Another area of concern to all is the regional hospital. Barnes says that while the new wing was built for a 500yr flood*, “the older sections of the hospital are at risk, and unfortunately is where the most expensive equipment is housed,” says Barnes. To meet the threat, ADOT is sending 40 concrete barrier walls from Flagstaff, the first of which was delivered yesterday, to the hospital. “ADOT really stepped up,” says Barnes, adding that they are only charging them $1 each for the barriers.

This view of Pinal Creek from behind Broad street shows the extent of the challenge facing both City and Country crews. Jerry Barnes says his crews are working 7 days a week and clearing about 1/2 mile per day. They have nearly 5 miles of waterways to clear. Photo by LCGross

The City has begun contacting over 100 property owners they have identified who are located along the waterways to get a sign off on the “Cooperators Agreement” which is a requirement of the federal grant and allows city/county crews to go on private property to do work to mitigate flood damage. 

Of the 106 property owners the City has identified within their jurisdiction, Chris Collopy says everyone he has talked to understands the importance of this.

“We’ve gotten tremendous support,” he says.  

Chris Collopy shows the list of property owners they are contacting. The green indicates those they have already received signed agreements from. Photo by LCGross

 

About Linda Gross

Linda Gross
Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.

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