EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) --When the San Francisquito creek floods tens of thousands of homes sit in its path. Today there was a groundbreaking of a project decades and tens of millions of dollars in the making to protect these properties. Work will soon begin to double the width of the area of the creek. The San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority broke ground on a project to prevent flooding from the Bay to Hwy 101 and beyond.
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Massive floods in 1998 and 2012 caused extensive damage. This project has been in the works since the 1950's, but since the creek crosses so many geographical borders getting cities, counties, and even the federal government on the same page was a challenge. There are even three protected species in the marshland. But the $41 million project is now a reality and will bring flood relief for years to come.
"This project will change the creek from about a capacity for a 40 year flow to a 100 year flow with several feet of sea level rise so we're baking in sea level rise into the design of the project and extreme tides because this whole area is influenced by the bay tides," said Len Materman, San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.
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It will be challenging to make the creek less prone to flooding. Some 12 acres from the Palo Alto golf course will be used for creek widening. The creek will also be dredged to rid it of sediment build-up. This portion of the project is expected to take more than two years. Other portions of the project are in the planning phases.