County surpasses $20 million in road repairs

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — With March 16 marking the one-year anniversary of a federal disaster declaration for January 2017 storms, the County of Santa Cruz announced the completion of more than $20 million in debris removal and road repairs, including several priority projects.

"By adopting repair guidelines and hiring additional staff to work on obtaining quick project approvals, the Board of Supervisors has prioritized and expedited the storm recovery process," Board Chair Zach Friend said. "We still have a long road ahead of us, but we have come a long way since last winter."

With approximately $120 million in damage to more than 200 different sites, the 2016-17 winter storms caused more damage to public infrastructure than any storm in history, according to county officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency eventually declared three major storm disasters for Santa Cruz County, with the Jan. 18-23, 2017 storm event impacting major routes across the county.

Several major repairs have concluded, with both FEMA, the Federal Highway Administration and Senate Bill 1 contributing funding. They include Soquel-San Jose Road, Glenwood Drive, Soquel Drive at Aptos Street, and Laurel Glen Road. Valencia Road at Trout Gulch, the county's largest repair project, is nearing completion.

Several smaller routes needed to restore neighborhood access have also been completed, including repairs on Mountain Charlie Road, Canham Road, Skyland Road, Green Valley Road, Jarvis Road, China Grade and more. Other major repairs, including Bear Creek Road and Swanton Road, are underway.

County officials estimate it will take several years to repair all storm-related projects. Earlier this month, the Department of Public Works announced pre-construction work at several more repair sites, including Vine Hill Road, Branciforte Drive, Eureka Canyon Road and more.

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