Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bellevue spends $18K for river work

West channel blocked since 2006

Express Staff Writer

The Big Wood River flows south through the Wood River Valley. The city of Bellevue plans to spend nearly $18,000 to rehabilitate a channel of the river. Photo by David N. Seelig

The city of Bellevue received permission last week from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to free up a channel in the Big Wood River blocked in 2006 by an unusually high spring flood.

The permit will allow removal of 4,448 cubic yards of debris and gravel from the west side of the river where it passes through the city.

Flooding in 2006 was the worst in recent history. Mayor Jon Anderson drew fire at that time for constructing an emergency dike of logs and boulders to protect city property and private landowners on Riverside Drive, along the east channel. City sewer lines and a lift station are under and beside the drive.

The west channel work, scheduled for completion this fall, will cost $17,654. City officials have contacted several local excavation firms to bid on the project. The bidding period for the work will closes today, Oct. 31, at 4 p.m.

Bellevue Planning Director Craig Eckles said the debris in the west channel had to be removed to protect private and public property.

“The loss of this channel not only reduced viable fish habitat areas, but also forced high flows to erode the adjacent east banks, endangering the Wood River Valley Irrigation District No. 45 Canal Co. delivery system for all south county irrigation waters, Riverside Subdivision and city infrastructure,” Eckles said.

He said the blocked channel also diminished public accessibility to the south end of the Howard Preserve.   

Under the proposed plan, contractors will build a temporary road into the river and a temporary dam. 

After a 1,000-foot-long and 20-foot-wide channel, 3 feet deep, is cleared on the west side of the river, both the east and west channels will be allowed to flow again, as they did before the 2006 flood.

The removed debris will be donated to the Blaine County Road and Bridge Department for fill.

In other Bellevue news:

( Friends of the Howard Preserve was turned down by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for a $10,000 grant request to maintain and enhance many features of the preserve. Organization representative Florence Blanchard said she expects about $2,500 in donations for the enhancements this fall from revenues generated by the Bellevue Haunted Forest.

“We will keep soldiering on,” Blanchard said.

( The Fire Department christened its new fire truck at City Hall on Thursday, Oct. 25. 

Tony Evans:

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