After the Valentine’s Day storm, Indian Canyon has been closed from sand buildup more often than not and the city of Palm Springs doesn’t know how to address the problem.
“Normally, we don’t see this type of closure day after day, week after week,” Marcus Fuller, Palm Springs’ city engineer, said. “The floods left behind a layer of silt and sand which covers the road on windy days.
“We can’t put up sand fences, we can’t put up vegetation, we can’t install tamarisk trees,” he said.
There has been talks of a bridge but that also has its own limitations, according to Fuller.
“Going on the levy south side, that’s a huge flood plain for the Whitewater river and it’s over two miles long,” he said. “The cost of a two-mile long bridge is $250-million so the state didn’t support our request for funding.”
Meanwhile, the city is investing tax dollars to get the road cleaned up whenever sand piles up. Workers told NBC Palm Springs they have worked almost every day recently.
“It could cost 5-, 10-, 15-thousand dollars every time just to get equipment and forces out in order to clear that up,” Fuller said.
Signs are set up on both sides of Indian Canyon reading “road closed” to turn cars away. Some cars have ignored the request and gotten stuck.
“What it’s come down to is we just have to be prepared when the winds blow to mobilize and quickly remove the sand so we can get the roads opened,” Fuller said.
Workers said the road should open by Wednesday, weather dependent. Fuller said the ultimate goal would be to build a bridge even if it is smaller. That discussion will take place over the next few years.
Officials recommend using Highway 111 or Interstate 10 during closures.