New dike, basin to benefit Hildale floodwater control

In this October 2015 file photo, heavy rains triggered more flooding in Hildale just a month after a flash flood in the same area killed 12 people and swept away one young boy who has not been found, Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2015 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

HILDALE – A new diversion dike and detention basin will soon be built in Hildale as part of ongoing efforts to control flooding in an area where flash flooding has been deadly.

The twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona, lie at the base of mountains | Image courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News
The twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, lie at the base of mountains | Image courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News | Click image to enlarge

A flash flood in the area in September 2015 swept away two vehicles, killing three women and nine children and leaving one young boy still missing.

Read more: 18 found dead in 2 days in Washington County flash floods, 2 missing

The flood also caused extensive damage to roads, bridges and a municipal water pipeline in both Hildale and Colorado City; the new dike and basin are among several projects undertaken since the fatal 2015 flooding.

“We’re building a flood control dike out along the north side of Utah Avenue to try and contain the flood waters and direct them down one specific street instead of allowing them to scatter and run out through all of Hildale like it has in the past,” Washington County Public Works Director Ron Whitehead said.

The new diversion dike will be built north of Utah Avenue on the west end of Hildale and will be 3,000 feet long and 80 feet wide; it will direct flood waters into a new storm drainage channel built on Willow Street in the past year, Whitehead said.

A smaller dike has filled up and breached over the years and floodwater on the west end of Hildale now spreads out across roads and runs through backyards, Whitehead said.

“It just makes a big mess out there,” he said.

The dike and detention project will be funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service. The project is expected to go out for bid in the next few weeks, Whitehead said.

The dike and detention basin are on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management; the Washington County Commission approved a right-of-way agreement with BLM Tuesday to build the structure.

One barrier to building the dike and basin remains, however; the county still needs an easement across a piece of private property owned by the United Effort Plan Trust, Whitehead said.

The trust was originally created by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but later reformed by Utah’s 3rd District Court to administer housing solutions and benefits to trust participants.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Loyal Opposition January 5, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I am tired of hearing of people being injured and killed in the Hilldale area. I am glad to hear that this is being done. Hopefully it will help.

  • utahdiablo January 5, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Yeah, once the flooding is under control then the FLDS crooks can get back to ripping off welfare for many more Millions from We the US taxpayers…and only get a $100 fine

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