Canal break closes WS highway

Franklin County grades a berm to direct some of the water gushing down a newly cut gully into a culvert. Most of the water and a lot of gravel flooded onto a field of dry beans.

A July 7 break in the upper canal of the Twin Lakes Canal Company closed the West Side Highway at 4 p.m. for several hours, spread gravel through a dry bean field, and shut water off for farmers until repairs could be made. The break occurred just north of 2729 N. West Side Highway.

Franklin County’s road crew took a road grader to the scene and diverted some of the flooding into a culvert that ran north along the side of the road, until the water could be shut off.

Ivan Jensen, water master of the Twin Lakes Canal Company, said it took about five hours to drain the canal once the water was shut out of the ditch. He had dirt pushed into the canal to dam it up once enough water had drained out that it wouldn’t overflow.

The road was cleared by midnight, said Brenda Jeppersen, whose home is just west of the break.

Jensen was directing the canal’s repair early Monday morning and said his crew would be working on it until it was not only repaired, but improved.

“We’re going to straighten this canal out,” he said. “It will take moving a lot of dirt,” but he expected the repair to be completed by the end of the week if all goes well.

The canal carries about 5,400 water shares from Twin Lakes to 72 head gates. Most of those shares belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which operates several fields in the area.

Wes Beutler, who farms the field that was flooded, said he still expects to be able to harvest all but about an acre of the pinto and cranberry beans growing in the field. The flood deposited a lot of gravel on the west end of that field.