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Public Works

Severe storms damage roads and bridges in Mojave Desert

desertflooding1 desertflooding2Severe thunderstorm activity hit the Mojave Desert on Sunday, Sept. 7 and Monday, Sept. 8 triggering flash flood warnings throughout the region.

Because of washouts and bridge damage, Interstate 95, Interstate 40, National Trails Highway, Needles Highway, and various other desert roads were closed. The damaged roads and bridges are located in the communities of Helendale, Silver Lakes, Barstow, Newberry Springs, Ludlow, Amboy and Essex.

The Department of Public Works estimates $1.4 million in damage consisting of debris cleanup, shoulder washouts, bridge damage and roadway asphalt damage. The most extensive damage was along National Trials Highway where currently the sections between Fort Cady Road to Amboy Road, and Cadiz Road to Mountain Springs Road/Interstate 40 are closed pending roadway repairs and bridge evaluations.

 

Public Works clears mud and debris from Needles Highway

Piute #1#2  8-25-13  NHW #3 (2)

Needles Hwy  Flooding 8-19-2014 Piute Wash 008 (2) (3)

Needles District Maintenance Supervisor Donald Toy took the picture to the left of the storm damage across Needles Highway following a series of thunderstorms this month.

The many storms that affected a huge portion of San Bernardino County on August 3 from the foothills of the valley to the Colorado River caused the Board of Supervisors to declare an emergency in order to seek state and federal disaster funds.

The single largest drainage system in eastern San Bernardino County are the Piute Washes on Needles Highway. This watershed magnet collects precipitation from as far away as the Sacramento Mountains, 30 miles to the west to the Piute Range that protects the Mohave National Preserve’s eastern border into Nevada. This flow of rain runoff will at times travel from as far away as Searchlight, Nevada 70 miles to the north. The runoff destination is the Colorado River which is 300 yards east of the Piute Washes north of Needles.

Motorists to Laughlin, Nevada who use Needles Highway will witness flows from Piute Washes causing road closures as maintenance crews wait so debris can be removed. Sometimes, drivers are stranded between washes and must wait for the water to subside before venturing forward.
This week, Public Works crews cleared the mud and debris and got the highway opened up quickly as seen on the right. This is an example of how Government Works.
Final Government Works Stamp

Alabama Street reopened between Highland and Redlands

alabamaredlandsalabamareopenedAlabama Street between the cities of Redlands and Highland reopened today for more than 12,000 motorists who rely on the thoroughfare each day.

The San Bernardino County Flood Control District, along with the City of Highland, the City of Redlands, the City of San Bernardino and the Inland Valley Development Agency and dignitaries celebrated the opening this morning during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Alabama has been closed seven times since 2003 for damage to the roadway caused by storm flows from City Creek. The project started in November of 2013 and consisted of construction of two 48-foot-wide by 169-foot-long arch culverts at City Creek; roadway widening and paving; concreted rock slope protection, and the installation of new electric, gas and communication lines. The project was completed on time and under budget. The completed project meets the FEMA-approved 100-year flood capacity and the water-carrying capacity of the road crossing is now increased by more than 600 percent.

The project was completed at a construction cost of $2,350,010. More than 95 percent was funded by grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the state Office of Emergency Services. The remaining costs were shared by the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the City of Highland, the City of Redlands, the City of San Bernardino and the Inland Valley Development Agency.

Alabama to reopen to traffic by noon on Wednesday

roadopeningThe San Bernardino County Flood Control District, along with the City of Highland, the City of Redlands, the City of San Bernardino and the Inland Valley Development Agency, are happy to announce the upcoming reopening of Alabama Street between Highland and Redlands.  Alabama will be open by noon on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Alabama has been closed seven times since 2003 for damage to the roadway caused by storm flows from City Creek.  The project started in November of 2013 and consisted of construction of two 48-foot-wide by 169-foot-long arch culverts at City Creek; roadway widening and paving; concreted rock slope protection, and the installation of new electric, gas and communication lines. The project was completed on time and under budget. The completed project meets the FEMA-approved 100-year flood capacity and the water-carrying capacity of the road crossing is now increased by more than 600 percent.

The project was completed at a construction cost of $2,350,010. More than 95 percent was funded by grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the state Office of Emergency Services. The remaining costs were shared by the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the City of Highland, the City of Redlands, the City of San Bernardino and the Inland Valley Development Agency.

Thanks to the improvements, a recent storm passed freely through the new arch. The reopening of Alabama will be great news to the 12,000 motorists who have come to rely on this thoroughfare each day.

More information is available by calling the San Bernardino County Flood Control District at (909) 387-7920.

County crews continue cleanup

The County’s Department of Public Works and County Fire Department have been busy helping to restore order to various county communities following Sunday’s floods and debris flows.

ap-image-f8f0fb7fa7fc45d9b8484f6b96aef929Mt. Baldy, Forest Falls, and Oak Glen were hit the hardest. County Public Works Crews have cleared Mt. Baldy Road of debris, and a loader and grader are staged in the area in case additional work is needed. Some reports hold that thunderstorms might return as soon as Sunday.

In Forest Falls, crews were able to open Valley of the Falls Drive, even though cleanup in the community is expected to last at least through August 22. Crews are also expected to spend two more weeks cleaning up in Oak Glen, where at least four major storm culverts were completely blocked. Oak Glen Road is now open.

County Fire Hand Crews have been in Mt. Baldy and Forest Falls helping residents dig out from the mud and debris. County Fire also brought in equipment to start clearing driveways of mud and debris.

The desert areas of the county are suffering as well, with Barstow Heights and Big River the hardest hit. Public Works crews were also dispatched to Helendale, National Trails Highway, and various earthen flood control channels.

Keep up to date on road closures by visiting Public Works’ award-winning website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dpw/

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors ratified a declaration of local emergency signed Monday by County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux. If the governor concurs, the county’s cleanup costs will be eligible for reimbursement and low-interest loans might be available to residents who lost property.

 

Public Works receives GIS award from ESRI

color seal smallThe County of San Bernardino Department of Public Works received a Special Achievement in GIS Award at the ESRI International Users Conference in San Diego, held July 14-18. This award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work, and innovative use of ESRI’s geographic information system technology.

In April 2013, Public Works developed new geographic mapping information on their website to assist the public in viewing county roads, flood control and solid waste facilities locations throughout the county.

Ninety percent of the work that Public Works performs is at distinct geographical locations within the County, and the department wanted to share that information with the public through a variety of interactive maps. The website address is http://sbcountydpw.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html.

The website includes locations of the Road Yards showing the service boundaries with information on how to contact road yard supervisors. A search by street address feature is also available of the County Maintained Road System, allowing users to easily locate which roads are maintained by Public Works. A Temporary Road Closures map helps users avoid areas where roads are closed for maintenance or problems.  Flood Control facilities and Flood Control right-of-ways are easily identifiable on their own unique interactive map. A Waste Disposal map shows locations, hours and days of operations to assist with accessing the landfills or transfer stations in your area. The Capital Improvement Project map provides a tour of the current projects that are under construction.  All of the maps are interactive, allowing users to click on a geographic feature to bring up additional detailed information.

“The SAG Awards identify the organizations and people that are using the power of geography to improve our world and drive change,” says ESRI president Jack Dangermond.

For more information about the 2014 Special Achievement in GIS Award winners, including project information and photos, please visit www.esri.com/sag.

For further information visit Public Works at www.sbcounty.gov/dpw.

Flood Control District celebrates 75th anniversary

"E" Street and Santa Anita River in San Bernardino - March 5, 1938

“E” Street and Santa Ana River in San Bernardino – March 5, 1938

On April 20, 2014, the San Bernardino County Flood Control District celebrates its 75th anniversary and the strides it has made to help reduce flooding risks and damages in San Bernardino County.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary, Public Works is featuring in its lobby located at 825 East Third Street in San Bernardino a display of photos and newspaper articles from the years of the severe floods. Public Works will also feature the display at the San Bernardino County Museum on May 10th as part of Public Works Week “Building for today. Planning for tomorrow.”

With the Flood Control District’s 75th anniversary approaching, the District operates and maintains 151 miles of levees, 226 miles of channels, 40 miles of storm drains and 119 basins.

Flood history in the Santa Ana River Basin is traceable since the entry of the Spanish Mission Fathers into the Los Angeles and San Bernardino areas between 1769 and 1776. In more modern times, one of the most devastating storms in the County occurred on March 2nd and 3rd, 1938, and flood waters caused 14 known deaths and damages estimated at $12 million (that’s more than $194 million in today’s dollars).  Practically no part of the San Bernardino Valley or Mojave River Valley escaped the wrath of this storm with almost every community isolated and hundreds homeless.

The district was formed the following year in 1939 as an urgency and progressive measure for the preservation and promotion of public peace, health, and safety as a direct aftermath of the disastrous floods of March 1938.

Santa Ana River at 10/215 Interchange in San Bernardino - 1969

Santa Ana River at 10/215 Interchange in San Bernardino – 1969

Eclipsing, in many respects, the flood of 1938, were the “great” floods of January and February 1969, occurring a month apart.  Rainfall intensities and amounts were greater and, except for the Mojave River and its tributaries, runoff peaks were higher during these two floods.  Although Flood Control facilities functioned splendidly during the January flood period, there was insufficient time to perform necessary repairs and maintenance before the late February storm struck, which caused nearly twice as much damage.  Monetary losses in San Bernardino County alone amounted to more than $23 million from the January storm and over $31 million from the February storm.  This is, however, only a portion of the losses which would have been sustained had no flood protection been provided at all.  The severe flooding throughout Southern California inflicted costly damages exceeding $213 million in tangible property losses and exacted 115 human lives.  San Bernardino and six neighboring counties were declared national disaster areas.

Many flood events have plagued the county since those early times but the damage has not been as devastating since the formation of the district. The district’s programs have placed a special emphasis on the control of the county’s principal streams and channels.  One shining example of that is the Seven Oaks Dam, completed in November 1999 as a collaborative effort between Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

floodcontrol3

Seven Oaks Dam in Highland

The Seven Oaks Dam collects storm water from a 177-square-mile area at inflow rates of as much as 58,000 cubic feet per second and then meters the water out at a rate of 5,500 cubic feet per second. This dam provides significant protection to communities along the Santa Ana River from the base of the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Along with reducing flooding risks and damages, many of these sites provide wetlands mitigation, habitat for wildlife, and green space for all to enjoy. By acquiring land for conservation, flood storage and other multi-use projects, the district is ensuring an effective blueprint for flood damage reduction, now and in the future.

For further information please contact the San Bernardino County Flood Control District at (909) 387-7995.

County forecast: Heavy rains and forceful winds beginning Friday

Falling Rain

Rainfall and wind beginning early Friday may cause unsafe conditions throughout areas of San Bernardino County, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts from 40 to 45 mph are expected in the valleys but mostly in the desert communities of Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms.

Rain began falling overnight Thursday but the storm is expected to pick up on Friday.

National Weather Service forecasters predict:

  • A foot of rainfall in Crestline and other south facing mountain areas where rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour can occur
  • A half foot to a foot in Lytle Creek
  • Four to five inches in Rancho Cucamonga and other foothill  communities
  • One to two inches in the High Desert
  • Ten inches in Yucaipa and Forest Falls

These rainfall amounts may lead to flash flooding.

The heavy rains on Friday will transition to showers through Friday night and Saturday, ending on Sunday.

Although the sun will peek out of the clouds on Saturday, rainfall is expected to continue throughout the day.

County crews and departments are mobilized to address storm-related issues.

Residents are advised to stay clear of flood control debris basins and channels. Persons can be swept away by a surge of water runoff, mudflow, or debris flow. Do not drive where water is over the road as flood waters can rise rapidly and sweep a car and its occupants away.

Sandbags are available at the following locations: County Sandbag List

For information about road closures and to report road and flood problems, visit the Department of Public Works website at www. sbcounty.gov/dpw/

In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

 

New tipper takes on trash at county landfill

trash3

Two “tippers” like the one pictured here were installed at the Mid Valley Sanitary Landfill in Rialto in November 2013 to process refuse more efficiently.

The tipper takes half the time to empty refuse than a traditional walking floor trailer which slowly pushes the refuse out of the back of the trailer using hydraulic pumps.

The tipper holds what’s called a possum trailer which can carry about 25 tons of refuse. The tipper is efficient because it has its own engine and typically runs on propane for cleaner emissions.

The tipper unloads faster which means trash trucks can make more round trips to bring waste to the landfill, which increases income to the County.

Merry Christmas from Public Works

In addition to keeping our roads in good shape and performing a host of other services for the public, the people of the County Department of Department of Public Works found DPW Ops 13 Toy Drivethe time and energy to donate toys to the County Children’s Fund Toy Drive.

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