ALAMOGORDO, N.M. – Representatives from the city; elected officials; and the contractor, Pate Construction, joined Albuquerque District Commander Lt. Col. Larry Caswell to officially break ground on the $23.9 million final phase of the Alamogordo McKinley Channel Project, May 17, 2019.
“While this is the last phase of this project, it’s the first in the U.S. funded with supplemental funds to break ground. I’m proud to be here today with you as we mark this event,” said Lt. Col. Caswell. He went on to thank the District’s local sponsor, the City of Alamogordo, “for all of their hard work and dedication that has been exhibited throughout the planning, design, and construction phases of this project.”
Caswell thanked project managers Michael Martinez and Brian Sanchez as well as the employees on the District’s Planning, Design, and Contracting teams who contributed to the project’s success. He also thanked the city’s project manager, Nancy Belshaler, for her hard work and dedication on the project.
Additionally, Caswell recognized Karen Barresford, chief of South Pacific Division’s Civil Works Integration Division, who was in the audience, for her role in facilitating the supplemental funding to finish the project.
Other speakers during the ceremony included Dara Parker, from Senator Heinrich’s office; Rene Romo, from Senator Udall’s office; and Alamogordo Mayor Pro-Tem Jason Baldwin.
Because there are no well-defined water courses in the Tularosa Basin, flooding in arroyos on the west slope of the Sacramento Mountains have historically flowed through the city of Alamogordo, causing extensive damage to residential, business, and public property. The Alamogordo McKinley Channel Project was initially authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1962, and originally planned for a large diversion channel along the eastern edge of the city to intercept these flood flows. During design, this project was modified and the completed project will consist of two concrete lined diversion channels - the South Channel and the McKinley Channel - with 100-year capacity that will intercept flood flows from the Sacramento Mountains.
To meet funding constraints faced by the city and USACE, construction was staged over the past twenty years. The South Diversion Channel was constructed in four phases from 2001 to 2011, and provided concrete lining of the existing South Diversion Channel, eight concrete box culvert road crossings, the Washington sediment basin, and an inlet basin at the start of the channel. It was turned over to Alamogordo in 2017.
Construction on the McKinley Channel began in 2011 and completed phases include concrete lining of the existing McKinley Channel and eleven concrete box culvert road crossings. This last phase is the final portion of the McKinley Channel, which includes a sediment basin and the remaining channel concrete lining. It is scheduled to be completed Nov. 13, 2021.