In December of 2004, the Las Vegas area received 2.10 inches of rain, shattering a 64 year old record. In addition, the first 11 days of January, 2005, received another 1.5 inches of rain; almost tripling the average rainfall for that time of year. These large amounts of precipitation, in addition to an above normal snow pack in the surrounding mountains, produced devastating flooding throughout the area.
The raging flood waters pounded the city of Saint George, Utah before making their way West through Caliente, Nevada. The uncontrollable water left massive destruction in its wake. Bridges, roads and property were destroyed. The environmental impact was devastating. Some 65 miles of Union Pacific’s track incurred extensive damage. The flooding water washed away track sub-grade and adjacent roads intermittently throughout the entire 65 miles. Their main line used to move goods and products from the East to the West coast was shut down. Over 200 million dollars in damage was inflicted to Union Pacific before the waters subsided.
On January 13th, command centers were set up at Ferrier and Caliente. Robinson Construction and 3 other contractors were called in to repair the damage and get the track back on line. Within days, hundreds of pieces of equipment were brought in. Working around the clock, we were able to restore rail service within 14 days, a task that seemed almost impossible weeks before.
After the critical repairs had been completed by all four contractors, Robinson Construction was selected to repair the devastating environmental damage that had occurred. The scenic canyon adjacent to the 65 mile line had suffered significant damage due to the flood water. In conjunction with EPA, BLM, CDM Consulting Engineers, and Union Pacific Railroad, we spent over three and a half years planting trees, creating wild life habitat, completing permanent track repair, and restoring the canyon and stream back to its former natural beauty.
The canyon that looked like a natural disaster four years ago, once again is a place of scenic beauty.