Latest on storms: Repairs to cost ‘millions’

County supervisors Tuesday received an update on local flooding related to recent rainfall, with an emergency services official telling the board that both rain and a failing levee caused damage set to cost “millions” of dollars.

San Benito County recently ratified a declaration of local emergency due to flooding in the Lovers Lane area related to recent storms. On Jan. 12, county inspection teams discovered a Pacheco Creek levee breach northeast of the bridge on Lovers Lane. According to the Office of Emergency Services, the breach is located on private property and is around 100-feet long by 50-feet deep.

Mandatory evacuations were issued Friday for residents on Lovers Lane and San Felipe Road (from Shore Road to Highway 156) due to flooding caused by rising water levels in the Pacheco Creek.

Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed a State of Emergency for San Benito County late Monday.

Emergency Services Manager Kevin O’Neill told supervisors they now had state support.

“The first good news is the governor of the State of California proclaimed a state of emergency for our county … opening funding to assist counties and local jurisdictions in recovering from this disaster,” O’Neill said.

That seemed to be the only good news in the report.

“The second and third round of flooding certainly exacerbated a lot of the damages that we suffered from the first one,” O’Neill said. “Roads and bridges are compromised and will require a significant amount of repair in the tune of millions.”

The tremendous amount of rain was primarily what caused the flooding, O’Neill said, but also made mention of the levee breach.

“The Pacheco Reservoir, which is several miles up (Highway 152), was spilling over the spillway, which contributed to all this flooding,” he said. “Additionally, there was a levee break about a quarter-mile east of the Lovers Lane bridge, which caused the significant flooding into the north of the creek. We have a team out doing damage assessments again today.”

Supervisor Robert Rivas asked O’Neill if there was a plan to address Pacheco Creek as a cleanup effort. O’Neill said at this point the plan is to create a plan.

O’Neill brought up a potentially compromised bridge on San Felipe Road and said use has been restricted to local residents and light vehicles only.

Resource Management Agency Director Brent Barnes spoke more on the matter.

“Longer term, we intend to replace the bridge, about a $2 million project,” Barnes said.
“The bridge is probably compromised and needs to be replaced.”

O’Neill noted that Congressman Jimmy Panetta would be riding along Wednesday with Supervisor Mark Medina to tour the flood area.

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