East Jordan Canal construction to benefit all residents

East Jordan Canal construction to benefit all residents
Posted on 02/02/2012

Shallow groundwater has flooded basements along Dawn Drive for decades, and it was believed that a combination of factors, including irrigation water from the East Jordan Canal, were to blame. So a few years ago, canal owner Salt Lake City Public Utilities decided to pipe the canal with a 72-inch concrete pipe to ensure that no more water seeps out of the sides of the canal bank.

Right now, construction crews are finishing the work of piping the final segment of the East Jordan Canal between 1495 East and Fort Union Boulevard. The work began in December 2011 and is moving along very well. So far, construction has included cleaning the bridge beneath Fort Union Boulevard, clearing and grubbing the existing canal, laying the new 72-inch concrete pipe, and removing and replacing the existing bridge culvert that spans 1495 East.

A new concrete cleanout structure has also been added to the existing bridge at Fort Union Boulevard to allow maintenance access to the soon-to-be enclosed canal. Construction crews will be working through the month of February on placing the new pipe and backfilling the existing canal. Weather permitting, the canal is expected to be completely enclosed by the beginning of March.

This last phase of construction work is a joint partnership between Salt Lake City Public Utilities and Cottonwood Heights. As part of the partnership, the two entities are discussing a possible easement for Cottonwood Heights to build a paved trail over the enclosed canal between Fort Union Boulevard and the new Mountview Park.

If granted, the easement would provide a unique and rare opportunity to construct a multi-use trail way though an existing urban neighborhood. If Cottonwood Heights were required to buy the property for a trail, the cost would be prohibitive. However, by working together on projects like this, governmental agencies can build amenities that become a great asset to the public.

History of the East Jordan Canal Project:

  • Dawn Drive residents suffer from flooding in their basements.
  • More water usually appears after canal begins service in spring, peaking in August.
  • Cottonwood Heights becomes an incorporated city in 2005.
  • Councilman Gordon Thomas and Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore work with residents and Salt Lake Public Utilities to discuss piping canal.
  • City Manager Liane Stillman asks City Engineer Brad Gilson to perform water quality testing to determine the similarity between the water in the canal and the flooded basements. The results yield a 75 percent similarity in composition of water chemistry.
  • Salt Lake Public Utilities installs a 72-inch pipe from 1495 East to Mountview Park.
  • The final phase of canal piping from 1495 East to Fort Union is performed jointly as a partnership between Salt Lake Public Utilities and Cottonwood Heights. Salt Lake pays for the piping and Cottonwood Heights pays for the road crossing and the connection at Fort Union.
  • Salt Lake works with Cottonwood Heights to discuss an easement on their canal for a trail to be maintained by Cottonwood Heights.