ALAMOGORDO, N.M. – Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District joined officials from the city of Alamogordo and Pate Construction for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of Phase 8 of the McKinley Channel Flood Control Project, June 8, 2022, at Washington Park.
“Phase 8 of the McKinley Channel Project is the final chapter in a book that spans more than a decade. It’s a complex triumph in responsive flood risk management, and it is only possible with strong local partnerships,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Stevens, Albuquerque District commander.
“I want to thank our 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 - Mayor Susan Payne; City Manager Brian Cesar; and Director of Public Works Nancy Beshaler,” Stevens said. “I would also like to recognize our congressional delegation, who were instrumental in authorizing the funding to get this project completed…While Phase 8 is the last phase of this project, it was the first in the nation to be funded with BBA18 Supplemental Funds.”
“Working with the city of Alamogordo was a very pleasant experience, the city made the completion of this project a top priority,” said the district’s project manager Brian Sanchez.
“The contractor, Pate Construction Inc., was vital in the success of this project, they went above and beyond on many occasions to ensure the project was constantly moving forward, especially during some of the challenging times during the project such as COVID and some of the material and workforce issues,” Sanchez said.
Because there are no well-defined water courses in the Tularosa Basin, flooding in arroyos on the west slope of the Sacramento Mountains, east of the city of Alamogordo, have historically flowed through the city, causing extensive damage to residential, business, and public property.
Alamogordo has been flooded 13 times since 1935. Two major floods in 2006, which were considered to be 100-year and 250-year events, caused an estimated $7 million in damages to residences, businesses and public infrastructure.
“The McKinley Channel was a wonderful opportunity to support this community’s toughest engineering challenge. The concept of the project began in the 1960s and resulted in this 11-year construction project that will protect 1,200 homes and businesses from a 100-year storm event,” said Lt. Col. Stevens.
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.
To meet funding constraints faced by the city and USACE, construction was staged over the past 20 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. The last phase, Phase 8, is the final portion of the McKinley Channel and includes a sediment basin and the remaining channel concrete lining. It is estimated that the total project cost through Phase 8 will be $91 million.
“We feel privileged to be given the opportunity to support the citizens of Alamogordo,” said Stevens. “I’d like to thank the citizens of Alamogordo for having the trust and confidence in the Corps of Engineers to deliver on their toughest engineering challenges. It truly fills my heart with pride to know the team can deliver when called, and I look forward to one day showing my grandchildren what we, as partners, accomplished here.”