McKinley Channel Project

The McKinley Channel Diversion Project is a culmination of decades of partnership between the City of Alamogordo and the Corps of Engineers, with critical support from State legislators along the way. After authorization in 1962, the “Big Ditch” project was born and continued to be fostered for nearly three decades of diligent efforts on the part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and countless City staff. In 1992, the City requested that the diversion channel be separated into several phased smaller segments so that they could spread their financial commitment over several years. The resulting plan included the North Diversion Channel 1 (Beeman & Dry Canyon) and North Diversion Channel 2 (Tayes-Holcomb Channel), as well as the South Diversion Channel. Finally, after years of tweaking, modifying, and altering of the project, an agreement between the City and the Corps for the flood control project was executed in 1999. Construction began with the South Diversion Channel, which was built in four phases, with the last phase completed in 2011. This portion removed 375 properties in the City from the flood zone. McKinley Channel has been constructed in four phases, as well, beginning in 2011 and being completed eleven years later with Phase 8, in 2022. Completion of this last phase will result in more properties being removed from the flood zone, after review and approval by FEMA. Project costs for the eight phases have totaled over $90M.

Construction of the McKinley Channel Project  (Photos courtesy of Jeff Ridolpho, Pate Construction.)

Construction workers, a crane, and other large equipment work under a blue sky and light clouds
Construction workers and large equipment working on cement in a large ditch
Equipment and workers in a cement ditch with mountains in the background
Large equipment and workers constructing a cement ditch
Flood waters in a ditch with an overcast sky
Construction workers pouring cement in a large ditch
Workers and large equipment working on cement in a ditch
A large crane in a ditch
Large rocks support the edges of a dirt channel.