West I-40 Diversion Channel Phase IV
Award of Merit

Owner/Developer: Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control District
General Contractor: Salls Brothers Construction
Lead Design Firm: Wilson & Co.

This diversion channel on Albuquerque’s west side has a structure shaped like a volcano, along with a 4,000-ft-long shotcrete channel and a multi-use trail that stretches for more than a mile.

The $3.8-million diversion channel intercepts runoff that, before making its way to the Rio Grande River, historically caused major damage in the South Valley.

The design theme of the channel matches the city’s west-side landscape by highlighting the area’s volcanic history. Its distribution structure captures water flow at the existing box culverts and conveys it to the stone volcano through a 48-in.-dia pipe.

An elevation change allowed the team to extend a 30-in.-dia pipe more than 18 ft through the structure. Hydraulic energy creates an “eruption” that can reach 6 to 8 ft above the volcano’s top. The stormwater then flows down the rock-lined slopes, oxygenating and discharging it through a black-and-red shotcrete channel, which emulates a lava flow. Two crews worked from each side of the channel, with concrete-delivery trucks arriving on site every 40 minutes for three months.