PARLEY'S CANYON — A large construction project on I-80 through Parley's Canyon has almost been completed, and UDOT crews hope that it will decrease the number flood incidents that wash out the road.
Crews blasted bedrock in the middle of the night, and dug trenches 30 feet deep to build a new culvert to carry Parley's Creek underneath the interstate. Traffic delays were minimal while crews installed the culvert while nearly 50,000 cars and trucks drive the canyon every day.
"10,000 feet of pipe, two miles of pipe is quite an extensive amount of pipe to put in the ground, and do it all in one construction season," said UDOT Region 2 engineer Robert Stewart.
UDOT workers said that if Parley's Creek was not diverted into a massive culvert, there would be flooding problems in the canyon regularly.
Over the past three months, crews installed an average of 10 pieces of pipe a day 30 feet underground and under the interstate in places.
The two-mile culvert runs from the outlet of Mountain Dell Reservoir to nearly the mouth of Parley's Canyon. UDOT workers have laid almost 95 percent of the pipe, and are 75 percent complete with the entire $9.5 million job.
"(We've installed) about 9,500 feet of pipe to date," Stewart said. "We still have about 1,000 feet left."
Each section of concrete pipe is 12 feet long, 66 inches in diameter, and weighs more than 21,000 pounds. One section of pipe weighs about the equivalent of five average passenger cars. More than 870 pipe sections will be linked end to end over the two-mile stretch.
"The old pipe used to be right here," Stewart said pointing to an area near the end of the pipe. "But, it's since been abandoned, and they're pumping water around right now."
The old corrugated metal pipe is 50 years old and started to erode. The new concrete pipe, manufactured at Geneva Pipe in Orem, is designed to last a century.
"We need to be able to carry that creek safely under the roadway, and that's what this pipe was designed to do," Stewart said.
A large concrete box structure at the end of the line is designed to reduce the force of the water before the creek is released back into the open near the mouth of the canyon.
"The idea here is to get as much traffic up the canyon while impacting the water as little as possible," Stewart said.
The project should be finished in mid-October.