Another Engineer Weighs in on the Canal – Dave Helmich

Until now, I have held off commenting publicly on the proposed canal “improvements“ because I believed, apparently naïvely, that Paula Brown would inherit this “legacy“ project from Mike Faught and treat it in a community oriented, up to date, benefit/cost evaluated, way and recommend renovation only.
Just the esthetics of the recommended project are cause for its rejection. Trees, clearing, I don’t need to list all the negatives. I think it is safe to say this project would never be proposed in any other enlightened community in this country. In fact, the  current pattern in other communities is to uncover–that is, remove–the pipes that have been buried in the past in the move to urbanization to improve the esthetic environment. That is a value judgment. And my citizen reaction is that the proposal is insensitive to our community. 
I practiced civil engineering for 50 years before moving to Ashland. Heavy construction, including hydraulic conveyance and drainage was one area in which I practiced. This project is overkill and unwise. I echo much of Ted Hall’s comments. 
Further to Hall’s comments, a slightly technical issue is that pipe bedding (the gravel that is required to stabilize the pipe as described by Ted) will intercept subsurface flows (springs or even small seeps) and become a perfect conduit to redirect those now concentrated flows in unpredictable ways but always downhill under the pipe. Until an obstruction is reached or downhill relief is reached and then Spring! or Blowout! Maybe in a backyard–or worse yet, under a house.
The e. coli issue is real but we have no control over what is put in upstream. C.f. hog farm. But for doggies, it would be a good instant experiment to place bags and containers at 1/4 mile intervals and see how much they are used. Tomorrow.
This is the way we need to proceed in a world of limited resources. Ashland should not be a party to such examples of paving paradise as the Phoenix interchange.

Dave Helmich

Retired Engineer, Ashland

//inserted by Sharon