Eagle Canyon Dam explosion

Earth shakes to clear path for water basin

Eagle Canyon Dam explosion

Cathedral City, Calif. - When storms roll in to Cathedral City, businesses and home owners along Highway 111 batten down the hatches and hope the watershed atop Eagle Canyon is not hit hard by the storm. Twice in the last six years it has been, causing major property damage.

Within the next six months, Riverside County officials say hope will be replaced by certainty that the water will be stopped before it damages people's property.

"Obviously, the most recent events in '08 and '12 were the impetus to really try and ramp it up and get it done," Riverside County Supervisor, John Benoit, said. "I'm pleased to say that we're now a matter of months away. Probably by May at the latest, we'll have the full dam."

The final explosions carving a path for the dam shook the earth. Workers are excavating down to solid rock to form the foundation for the dam. Then, right on site, they compact and process the rocks and broken earth into a finer material that from the dam which will function as a large surge tank for storm water.

The project is costing the county about 10 million dollars, and once completed, Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa said, it stands to save the city millions.

"It's cost the city of Cathedral City millions of dollars in clean up," DeRosa said. "Now, finally after 25 years, with the support and help of Supervisor Benoit, we'll be able to get this project completed soon and it puts everyone's mind at ease."

The county says businesses and homeowners in the area will no longer be required to purchase flood insurance once the project is completed because the flood plane will be eliminated.

"Things are definitely going to change for the better," said Riverside County Flood Control District Chief of Design and Construction, Robert Cullen. "We will have 100 year flood protection in this valley for this watershed."

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