Residents look forward to repairs on damaged levee

December 26, 2012 7:07:18 PM PST
Emergency measures are holding on a failed creek levee on the Peninsula and now East Palo Alto residents are eager to see work begin on long-term plans for protecting their homes.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District came out to see how the levee was holding and assess new damage on Wednesday, like a giant oak that toppled over on the creek bank.

The trouble began Sunday night when the San Francisquito Creek spilled over and through a 600 foot levee, the only thing between the water and the East Palo Alto Gardens neighborhood.

The California Conservation Corps came to the rescue Monday night with sandbags, but the area between the bay and Highway 101 is prone to flooding, one of the worst was in 1998. It's too narrow for run-off from big storms and it's in a high-tide flood plain with water coming from the other direction..

Construction on a long-term solution will begin this coming summer.

"Most of the levees, so-called levees, are not levees and were constructed by farmers, which includes these," East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica said.

Abrica says the levees in his city were not built to protect homes.

The flood project includes widening the creek to handle a 100-year storm flow, a 100-year high tide and a 26-inch sea level rise. It will be excavated, an abandoned levee will be removed in baylands north of the creek and floodwalls will be built.

Residents have been waiting a long time for these repairs. The joint power authority tasked with the project was created in 1998 and it had taken until now to get the funding. This is also only phase 1, there are still two more upstream phases that have yet to be funded.


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