Collapsed roads and damaged culverts from the last two months of storms will cost El Dorado County hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in repairs, officials said Monday.
The county Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to get a damage assessment after a series of four storms battered the Sacramento region in January and February. County staff estimated more than $15 million in damage to roads, parks and a landfill.
In the best-case scenario, staff estimated the county could recoup about $14.3 million from state and federal governments.
That leaves the county on the hook for about $769,000 in road repairs and potentially $594,100 in park and landfill damage, according to county staff.
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Lt. Jim Byers, head of the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, said sustaining so much rain in a short period compounded the problem. One storm would cause a small problem that the next storm made much worse.
“I’ve been here for quite a few years, and I would have to say the damage to our infrastructure is some of the worst we’ve ever dealt with,” Byers said.
A cold storm followed by warm storm pattern, as happened earlier this month, is especially problematic because El Dorado County sits high enough in the foothills to get snow but low enough that a warm storm brings rain. When a snow storm is followed by rain, it melts the snow, and the water burden on the infrastructure is much greater than if it had just rained, Byers said.
Transportation infrastructure was the hardest hit, with 22 emergency projects in the works. Workers repaired some of the damage already, but many projects won’t begin until the summer or fall.
In the county parks system, Henningsten Lotus Park, the El Dorado Trail, and the Sacramento-Placerville Transportation Corridor sustained damage totaling $169,100. The Union Mine Landfill suffered $425,000 worth of damage, which can’t be repaired until late spring or summer because the site has to dry out, staff said.
Byers said the governor and federal government began the reimbursement process for January storms by declaring a disaster several weeks ago. Teams from state and the federal disaster agencies came out to investigate the January claim and determine how much they’ll help with clean up.
Gov. Jerry Brown has not declared a disaster for the February storms, so the process to receive state and federal money for the destruction from that time period has yet to begin, Byers said.