The huge sinkhole that largely crippled a part of downtown 20 months ago has been repaired and a key section of Rheem Boulevard finally reopened. "This year has been a year like no other. We have been thrown all kinds of challenges," said Moraga Mayor Theresa Onoda.
This small town doesn't have a big budget, and the $3.3 million price tag for the sinkhole was nearly a deal-breaker, prompting city leaders to declare an emergency that allowed them to apply for state and federal assistance. "That is a tremendous amount of money for a little town like this to put out," explained Onoda. That's why we were prudently responsible to call for a fiscal emergency. It was the smart thing to do, because it gave us options."
The sinkhole was also tough on nearby businesses, as customers had to navigate a maze of streets signs and closures to get into their parking lots. "We did a lot of specials, did a lot of extra advertising in the local newspaper and just try to draw in the community," said Moraga Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathe Nelson.
The sinkhole was only one of Moraga's major problems over the past two years. Two miles down the road, another $3 million repair project is still underway.
RELATED: Repair work underway to fix sinkhole that forced Moraga to declare fiscal emergency
That is the construction of a temporary bridge along Canyon Road after the old one failed in last winter's heavy rains. "Both projects in total close to $7 million," said Edric Kwan, Moraga's Public Works Director and Chief Engineer. "The challenge is although we will be getting reimbursed, it won't be for many years."
The temporary Canyon bridge is expected to open by the end of the month.
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