Road crews assess storm damage as city eyes repair funds

Swift flood waters washed away a driveway on Iron Canyon Road in Sand Canyon. (Austin Dave/The Signal)
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With Gov. Jerry Brown declaring a state of emergency in the wake of the recent winter storms that hammered California, Santa Clarita road crews were in the field on Tuesday to begin assessing damage, the first step in the city possibly getting funds for road and infrastructure repairs.

In a pair of proclamations issued Monday, Brown declared a state of emergency in more than 50 counties, including Los Angeles County.

One proclamation ordered Caltrans to immediately request assistance from the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program for highway-repair funds.

The other directed the state’s Office of Emergency Services to assist counties based on damage assessments provided by local governments.

In Santa Clarita, city spokeswoman Carrie Lujan said road crews from the Department of Public Works were in the field Tuesday to begin those assessments, examining damage to roads, guardrails and other infrastructure.

Their information will be forwarded to the city’s Emergency Services Supervisor, who will forward costs estimates for repairs to the county’s Office of Emergency Services.

In the meantime, Lujan said, city crews will begin fixing potholes and making other repairs “in the order of the most critical.”

The city would incur those costs in the short term, but “will be documenting the repairs, and we would be reimbursed if and when the state gives us money,’’ Lujan said.

More details about specific areas on which the city will focus will be known in the coming days, Lujan added.

In Brown’s proclamation, the governor noted that while state and local officials are still assessing the full scope of the damage caused by storms since Jan. 3, preliminary estimates put the damage at “tens of millions of dollars.”

“The circumstances of the storm damage, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single local government,” the governor said.

And, he noted, that responding to the storm damage would require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to deal with the damage.

Sudden heavy rain this past weekend left several areas across the Santa Clarita Valley flooded or prone to mud slides and debris flows including areas in Sand Canyon where more than 100 homes were evacuated due to the storm and in Castaic where several roads were flooded.

Signal Writer Jim Holt contributed to this story.


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