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Massive storm drains to be installed throughout the Las Vegas valley to prevent flooding

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Flash floods are common in the valley and are something to look out for as monsoon season begins.

To try and prevent such floods, the regional flood control district is unveiling a new project in the growing northwest valley.

Las Vegas will be installing more concrete storm drains, each one 20 feet wide and 7 feet tall.

You can easily walk through them, and construction crews will line them up back to back for more than a mile under the US-95.

The drains will be part of a larger system that captures rainfall and takes the flooding water underground, and eventually to Lake Mead.

To Las Vegas valley residents like Joe Hearns, flooding is something that’s almost expected. Monsoon season has a tendency to turn roads into rivers in his northwest neighborhood.

“We were going to distribute river rock in our backyard,” Hearns recalled. “So we had the truck stop by. Dropped it. Wait until the weekend to put it in the backyard, the rain came, and next thing you know, all the rock we ordered was completely gone. “

It's problems like the one Hearns described that the regional flood control district aims to fix.

Right now, 19 projects are underway, including one at the US-95 and Durango. The new storm drains will help the expanding part of the valley play infrastructure catch up.

Steve Parrish is the district's chief engineer.

“The first part of our mission is to keep floods away from people,” said Parrish. “We do that by building detention basins and channels and storm drains, box culverts like you see here, capture the rainfall and convey it safely through the Las Vegas. The second part of our mission is to keep people away from floods.”

Parrish hopes to help prevent the kind of water rescues that firefighters train for year around.

“We really want to send the strong message: ‘Water always wins.’” Parrish said. “Words to live by.”

As for Joe Hearns, he says that navigating the cone-laden streets during construction is no fun, but he admits it should be worth it in the end.

“I know I won't be ordering any rock or river rock, but hopefully with these new storm drains, we won't run into any major issues we've run into in the past,” said Hearns.

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