Las Vegas Sun

April 25, 2014

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Charleston Underpass flooding may be over

Flooding in the Charleston Underpass may be a thing of the past.

The traditional flash- flood season has ended this year, and a $36 million project to drain the underpass should be completed by next summer -- before the summer rains begin -- according to Clark County Regional Flood Control District officials.

"By next flash-flood season, we should see an end to flooding in the Charleston Underpass and surrounding business area," board chairman and Las Vegas City Councilman Larry Brown said.

After major rainstorms, the underpass has filled with floodwaters, trapping many unsuspecting motorists. In July 1998 after a 100-year storm, the underpass flooded downstream offices, stores and restaurants for days.

The status of work on the underpass was only one of the highlights of the flood control district's annual report, released this week.

Seventeen flood control projects have been completed this year and another 16 projects worth $86 million are on a priority list to protect Southern Nevada from the destruction of flash floods, according to the report.

One of the main projects halfway completed will help drain an area from Sahara Avenue to Alta Drive, the major cause of flooding in the Charleston Underpass, Gale Fraser, Regional Flood Control District general manager, said. The three-year project will also prevent Interstate 15 from flooding between Charleston and Sahara.

"With every completed project, the community is better protected from flooding," Fraser said.

In addition to completing 57 detention basins and 270 miles of floodwater channels, the flood control district also received $21.6 million from federal funds last year.

That money is helping to design and to build controls along the major flood pathways, the Flamingo and Tropicana washes, west of major Las Vegas resorts and homes.

It will take another $1 billion and another 20 to 25 years to flood-proof the valley, district spokeswoman Betty Hollister said.

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