Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma and Solano are among nearly all California counties seeking federal and state reimbursement for repairs this season that could run $600 million–$1 billion statewide.
On Jan. 23 and March 7, Gov. Brown issued emergency declarations because of the January and February storm work, particularly for the Oroville Dam.
WHEN THE LEVEE BROKE
This season flooding on state Highway 37, a heavily traveled route east of the Novato interchange with U.S. Highway 101, closed it for 17 days. Besides the Caltrans bill for that work and Highway 1 fixes still needed along the Marin coast, the tally for work by county agencies is estimated to be $8.75 million, according to a Department of Public Works report on the March 14 Board of Supervisors agenda.
The Highway 37 flooding happened from a confluence of factors. It is in an area where four waterways converge to flow into San Pablo Bay, and there’s a bottleneck for Novato Creek as it runs under the roadway. A system of levees managed by public agencies and private landowners is designed to let water flow into surrounding fields.
“Because the whole watershed is heavily saturated, things are not draining out,” said Julian Kaelon, a department spokesman. “It’s been one storm after another.”
Holes in levees along property owned by the Leveroni family combined with the saturated soil to flood the highway. “Caltrans did a great job of coming in and when we finally had a couple of dry days, putting in barriers and putting in some ballast,” said Judy Arnold, chairwoman of the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Her Fifth District includes that area.
“It isn’t going to be the final fix, but it should help a lot if we have flooding,” Arnold said. “If king tides come in, we’re not so sure, because of what else has to be done.”
She has been in talks with the family on levee repairs and has been working for years with colleagues in Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties on long-term environmental and traffic solutions for Highway 37. One problem is the roadway has sections below sea level, Arnold said.
SLIDE CLOSES NAPA VALLEY ARTERY
The rough estimate for county of Napa storm-related road has risen to $25 million–$30 million, but that could change as the impact of the January and February storms is fully assessed, according to county spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan. That includes materials and work time by various departments.
“At this point, all roads are accessible,” she said.
Among the slippages of a lane down a hillside or a slide of mud and rocks across a roadway was the dramatic spill of large boulders and dirt at the intersection of Pratt Avenue and the heavily traveled east Napa Valley thoroughfare Silverado Trail on Jan. 9, Jourdan said.
It took 10 days to reopen Silverado, but Pratt remained closed into last week, she said. County workers drilled 15-foot-deep holes in the bike lane and drove in metal beams to hold concrete K-rail barriers acting as a catchwall against the hillside.
Another dramatic slide was on Redwood Road just west of Napa that closed the significant rural track for about a week in early February. An estimated 3,000–5,000 cubic yards of dirt and timber debris slid 150–250 yards down a slope to cover the road, Jourdan said.