Repairing Roads a Priority from Fallout of Powerful Winter Storms

Relentless winter storms caused flooding, threats of levee breaches and severe weather across California throughout January and February. While precipitation was much needed after six-plus years of drought, the endless amount of rain and snow in such a short period created public safety concerns.

Most of the wet weather was triggered by atmospheric river storms – waves of moisture that move north from tropical areas and over the West Coast. Recovery from the storms is ongoing and will be a long-term process.

Among the concerns from the storm fallout is significant road damage, specifically in the Sierras. Caltrans District 3, which maintains and operates 1,491 center-line miles and 4,385 lane miles in 11 Sacramento Valley and Northern Sierra counties, has 45 emergency contracts currently open at a cost of $63.4 million.

All of the mountain highways have been impacted in some form by the winter storms. The majority of the emergency projects involve slipouts and slides, according to Caltrans District 3 spokesperson Steve Nelson.

“Slopes need to be stabilized, sections of highway rebuilt and drainage improvements made,” Nelson said. “On one section of Highway 50, a new 600-foot retaining wall needs to be constructed, a significant undertaking.”

Source: Caltrans

 

Statewide, the total damage estimate for road repairs is $730 million. The cost breakdown includes $622 million on emergency projects and $108 million on permanent restoration projects. There are 386 damaged sites and 267 emergency contracts.

During the month of February 2017, Caltrans maintenance crews statewide repaired 62,362 potholes at a cost of $3.24 million. By comparison, Caltrans maintenance crews statewide repaired 37,187 potholes at a cost of $1.77 million during the month of February 2016.

Cal OES is in the process of conducting Applicant Briefings with various counties to receive reports on a list of damages. Responsible for funding on damages to non-federal roads, Cal OES is scheduled for Applicant Briefings through March 23.

Click here for more on Applicant Briefings.

 

Additional resources:

Cal OES

Winter Storm Preparedness

Caltrans

 

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, multiple wildfires, the state's historic drought and the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident and unprecedented winter storms in 2017. Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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