Midvale officials hopeful for access to UDOT pumps after underpass flooding

Posted at 9:24 PM, Jul 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-29 23:24:14-04

MIDVALE, Utah -- The city of Midvale is tired of watching its underpasses flood every year. They say Utah Department of Transportation takes too long to turn on the pumps, and the city can do it twice as fast.

They are about to get a chance to prove that theory.

On Tuesday UDOT said they are planning a meeting with the city about giving the public works department access to their pump houses. The city has been asking for such access for several years but has been continuously denied due to pump costs and liability.

The city was especially upset Monday night when the 8000 South and Center Street underpasses flooded, leaving a handful of drivers stranded, forced to abandon their cars in waist deep water.

"It has been frustrating, you wonder why they won't let Midvale Public Works handle the switches -- can't be more intricate than we already have," said City Councilman Wayne Sharp.

UDOT acknowledged the flooding should have never happened.

"We are in the process of talking to Midvale city officials so that we can allow them to have access to these pumps and if we ever have another emergency like the one we had last night, they can come in, be trained, know what they are doing, and they can actually activate the pumps themselves whenever they feel like they need to," said UDOT spokesman Adan Carillo.

UDOT said it's more involved than just handing over the keys to the pump houses.

"There is a lot of equipment and machinery that goes into it, sensors, there are ladders, some of these wells are very deep," Carillo said.

UDOT and Midvale are tentatively scheduled to meet next week. No time table has been set as to when the city will have official access to the pump houses.

"I'm sure we can get through the liability issues and we can protect them and we can do what they need us to do," said City Manager Kane Loader.