Multiple Valley roads closed due to river flooding caused by water releases

Mar 15, 2023, 12:18 PM | Updated: 12:29 pm
(YouTube Screenshot/Maricopa County Department of Transportation)...
(YouTube Screenshot/Maricopa County Department of Transportation)
(YouTube Screenshot/Maricopa County Department of Transportation)

PHOENIX – Officials are warning Valley drivers to watch for road closures due to flooding caused by water releases into usually dry river channels.

The Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) said Tuesday that Gilbert Road was closed just north of Mesa between Thomas Road and State Route 87 (Beeline Highway) because of the flooding.

Motorists will need to take Country Club Drive north out of Mesa to access SR 87 while Gilbert Road is unusable.

McKellips Road in the East Valley and 67th and 91st avenues on the west side are also closed at the Salt River, MCDOT said in a press release.

Further west, Estrella Parkway is closed at the Gila River in Goodyear.

The roads will reopen once the water has receded enough for vehicles to get through, MCDOT said. There was no estimate for when that might happen.

Earlier this month, Salt River Project started low-level releases from Bartlett Dam, about 50 miles northeast of Phoenix, for the first time since 2019.

SRP determined the release was necessary because snowmelt is expected to fill the Bartlett and Horseshoe lake reservoirs by spring.

The water made its way down the Verde River to the Salt River, which flows west through metro Phoenix and merges with the Gila River near Avondale.

Jesse Gutierrez, MCDOT’s interim director, said his agency’s partnership with SRP helps keeps drivers out of danger.

“We’re able to collaborate with the communication aspect, we’re able to set up the traffic control, all in unison, all as a team, all as one, and it makes it so much more conducive to maintaining the safety of the public,” he said in a video by MCDOT.

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Multiple Valley roads closed due to river flooding caused by water releases