UTAH FLOOD WATCH

UDOT using heavy machinery to help clear rivers allowing water to flow

May 19, 2023, 8:30 PM

UDOT clearing rivers...

Water levels are high in Emigration Creek in Emigration Canyon on May 2, 2023. UDOT crews are using some heavy machinery to try and clear rivers near bridges to ensure the water can flow under them instead of over. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Department of Transportation crews are using some heavy machinery to try and clear rivers near bridges to ensure the water can flow under them instead of over.

With spring runoff flowing so high, it’s critical that river beds are as clear as possible so water doesn’t flow over the top of bridges and roads.

What UDOT is doing is a simple fix to a simple problem. It’s using giant claws to pick up debris from river beds and clear the way for water to flow.

To clear a plugged drain, you pull out the hair. According to UDOT’s John Gleeson, it’s the same premise.

“It’s not just water coming down, but it’s also bringing with it all sorts of debris,” he says. “There’s silt that’s just littering the river bed … and making it so that the water really doesn’t have any place to go.”

UDOT was able to open Highway 89 Thursday by dragging the river and freeing up the flow.

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UDOT using heavy machinery to help clear rivers allowing water to flow