The Town of Sahuarita voted Monday to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Pima County Flood Control District to become part of the District’s Alert Flood Warning System for the future Quail Crossing Boulevard bridge at the Santa Cruz River.
The bridge will eventually connect the Quail Creek area to Nogales Highway, allowing residents quicker access to retail and town amenities.
With the design of the low-flow bridge, there is potential the town would need to close the bridge in the case of flooding.
The alert system is a network of sensors that will provide the county and the town with information about weather conditions, stormwater runoff and precipitation to aid in the process of bridge closures.
As part of the agreement, the town will purchase two additional rain gages and a pan-tilt-zoom camera that will aid in determining when a bridge closure will be necessary.
The district will install, operate, maintain and incorporate the new equipment, but it is the town’s responsibility to close down the bridge when necessary.
Public Works Director Beth Abramovitz explained that town staff would be notified by the alert system to go to the bridge and monitor for possible closure.
The Public Works Department would be the first point of contact, with the police as a secondary contact.
Abramovitz said when the design was brought to the council in 2019, they were presented with a low-flow option or a dip crossing that would require grading within the river and a system with streamflow gauges.
The town opted for the low-flow bridge, partly due to rainfall data for the last five years indicating there wouldn’t have been a need to close the bridge during that time frame.
A final plan has been submitted for the project.
The start of construction is scheduled to begin in September with an anticipated completion date in early 2023.