City weighs in on flooding, some systems ‘overwhelmed’

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Friday night’s powerful blast of weather was a reminder of a similar storm that pounded downtown nearly a decade ago.

The city made some big changes to cut down on flooding problems. Officials told KRQE News 13 that some of those changes worked, while others didn’t

The city’s main drag took a pounding, catching quite a few people off guard overnight Friday and Saturday.

Albuquerque Fire even had to step in, rescuing one driver near Central and 1st who got in a little too deep.

“It didn’t really pick up until midnight or so and that’s what woke me up,” Fred Williams said.

Walking downtown Saturday, Williams says the downpour is almost like deja vu.

“Two or three weeks every day, almost as heavy as it was last night,” Williams said.

He’s talking about August of 2006 when nearly four inches of rain fell that month.

“It was pretty intense,” Williams said.

One of those storms left behind a flooded Cadillac on Eubank, turned Eagle Ranch into a muddy mess and a familiar sight – that same underpass near the Alvarado Transportation Center – looking just like it did Friday night.

“It was just out of hand,” Julie Julian said.

Julian, who now lives in Rio Rancho, says back in 2006, her home near Montgomery and Carlisle was hit hard.

“Water was coming in my front door so I actually had to drive down to the fire department where they helped me load sandbags in my car so that I could put them around my house.”

In 2007, the city built a retention pond at Lomas and Broadway to ease flooding near downtown.

“All the water from the region comes into this area,” Michael Riordan, director of Municipal Development said.

But last night, it could only do so much.

“Our system was stressed last night, so it didn’t work as well as it could have,” Riordan said. “There was so much pressure in that line that we did pop a few manholes and it took some asphalt with it.”

One of those manhole covers was at Martin Luther King and Broadway. The damage caused by the flood waters closed the road.

It wasn’t all bad news.

Given the heavy rain, the city says its 14 pump stations on either side of the river did their job.

The city says Broadway, which is shut down between Lomas and Martin Luther King, will take quite a bit of time to fix. They are hoping to have one lane open in each direction by Monday morning.

Riordan says they are always looking for more ways to fund projects that ease flooding woes.

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