Rain wipes out work on Calabacillas arroyo

Posted at: 07/15/2013 6:15 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s a construction project that’s supposed to control flooding – but it didn’t work that way Sunday night.

An inch and a quarter of rain falling in just a few minutes was enough to wipe out weeks of work in the big Calabacillas Arroyo at Golf Course and Irving on Albuquerque’s West Side.  It’s heavy duty rock and concrete work aimed at stabilizing and shoring up and channeling the arroyo, but much of it got knocked down and washed downstream. An 8 inch thick concrete wall was left bent and bulged out Monday morning.

“I’ve never seen concrete bent like that in my life and I’m 40 years in the construction industry,” said Albuquerque Metropolitan Flood Control Authority engineer Kurt Wagener. “We believe the water came up against the wall and the pressure of the sand and the sediment and the water against that wall bent the wall.”

Whatever the price tag will be on the repair and replacement job, it won’t be taxpayers that foot the bill. Wagener said the contractor is behind schedule on the project and will consequently have to eat the cost.

He said the $1.5 million project started in February and was supposed to be finished before the rainy season began in early July. He said it is part of a long term effort to keep the Calabacillas looking natural, instead of lining with concrete like most arroyos in the Northeast Heights, while protecting the neighborhoods along its banks from floods and erosion.

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