Cost Doubles For Fixing Roads Flooded By Russian River

Flooding in Guerneville February 28, 2019
Photo credit Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

The price for repairing and reopening roads that were flooded by the Russian River in February has jumped by 100% from what officials recently predicted. 

Initially, tbe damage in Guerneville, Monte Rio and other Sonoma areas inundated by the swollen Russian River was projected to cost $23 million. But an inventory list currently heading to FEMA, which covers more than 50 projects, totals $56 million.

Right after the February flood, officials thought it would take $23 million to fix washed-out roads and to clear mudslides. A damage inventory list currently heads to FEMA containing more than 50 projects, and the bill now totals $56 million as a result.

“Recovery costs honestly continue to skyrocket, and one of the challenges is that you don’t know how bad a project is until the soil dries out enough to do some geo-technical analyses,” Sonoma County Supervisor Linda Hopkins said. “We had a number of sites where we couldn’t even get in to start investigating because, for instance, we had a major road failure and there was a house perched above the mudslide. So by doing any sort of sample taking, we could actually destabilize the slope and cause further damage.”

The final list of repairs means the county can finally move forward with, if not fixing slides and washouts, at least shoring them up before the winter rains.

Hopkins said the days are over where you can wait three years for a road failure solution.

“A lot of these roads are emergency evacuation routes and are critical during the fire seasons,” she said.