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Winter Storm Response 

Responding to Roads

Sonoma County has experienced our wettest winter on record, and we worked day and night to keep our roads open wherever possible.

Throughout the rainy season we respond to storm damage as it happens, at sites that do not require complex engineering and construction solutions. From Mid-December through late March, we:

  • Filled potholes on 857 roads.
  • Cleared 275 slides.
  • Cleared fallen trees off 311 roads.
  • Cleaned culverts on 243 roads.
  • Mobilized to sand icy roads 105 times.

Even with this tremendous effort, our roads are going to require much more help. We estimate that repairing damage from the storms will cost over $16 million (not including regular potholing and pavement maintenance). The heavy rain caused soils to become saturated and unstable, leading to major road damage including

  • Landslides. Landslides and mud flows poured onto roads, such as the slide that occurred on North Fitch Mountain Road.
  • Slip Outs. Soil and foundations slipped out from under roads, causing roads like Old Cazadero (right) and King Ridge Road to crumble away.
  • Flooding. Many roads flooded, damaging pavement by seeping into cracks in the pavement, or saturating the foundation of the road when ditches filled to the brim. 

In comparison, last winter we cleared 44 down trees and 25 slides. The total rainfall for this winter, measured at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, is over 58 inches, surpassing the previous documented record of 55 inches in 1983.


Transit - There When You Need Us

During the early January floods, Sonoma County Transit responded to requests from the Emergency Operations Center and provided standby buses to West County for flood evacuees needing transportation to shelters in Santa Rosa.  Fortunately, unlike major flooding events in the 1980’s and 1990’s when hundreds of west county evacuees were transported to shelters in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, very few evacuees were transported this year. As part of TPW’s emergency response services, Sonoma County Transit’s fleet is available to provide transportation once an emergency is declared.

Integrated Waste on Clean-up Duty

Integrated Waste provided emergency debris disposal relief to residents and businesses in the Guerneville and Monte Rio area who were affected by the winter floods. 

Six temporary disposal locations were available, offering five days of free trash disposal. Two weekends of free Household Hazardous disposal were also provided to residents in the affected areas.

With the help of the community, Integrated Waste collected:

  • 151.82 tons of trash
  • 2.5 tons of appliances and metal
  • 10 tires
  • 37 mattresses

Water System Solutions

In January, a landslide develop near the Jenner storage tank and treatment plant site, which disconnected some of the joints of the 2 inch raw water supply line, and damaged the 6 inch distribution line. The raw water supply line brings untreated water to the plant, while the distribution line carries treated water to customers. Both pipes are located above ground, where the landslide occurred. 
Transportation and Public Works moved quickly to respond to the damage and threat of catastrophic failure. Between January 17 and January 30, 2017, we:

  • Developed a preliminary damage assessment report.
  • Informed and met with members of the community.
  • Met on site with consultants and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for possible funding opportunities.
  • Secured a Contractor for repairs.

Repairs began on January 31st. Preliminary reports estimated the emergency repairs would cost $45,000, with additional permanent repairs (to stabilize the hillside and re-route the pipes) costing up to $2,000,000.

Instead, Piazza Construction, Russian River Utilities, and Transportation and Public Works implemented an innovative solution, repairing the lines with a sturdy material, and securing them at the top and bottom of the slope. Additionally Piazza Construction installed two shut off valves that will allow the system to be isolated for future maintenance or repairs. This solution eliminated the need for additional costly repairs.

The work was completed in early March, and is estimated to cost about $50,000. Throughout repairs, there were no interruptions in water service to businesses, and only a four-hour interruption in service to a few residents. This was achieved with careful planning and attention, and involved trucking water to the Jenner Water System. 

SB1: Road Funding for California

In the late hours of Thursday April 6th, the California Legislature passed SB1, which will begin to address the legacy of underfunded infrastructure in California. 

SB1 will be phased in over a period of a few years, with new funds likely starting late in 2017. We appreciate your support and patience as we work to improve Sonoma County Roads. 

What does this mean for Sonoma County?

SB1 will more than double the amount of State funding Sonoma County receives for roads, raising our total state revenue to about $23 Million when the bill is fully phased. 

A Brief History on Road Funding

When the state gas tax was enacted in 1923, it raised enough money to cover both Corrective Maintenance (patching potholes, clearing culverts, etc) and Pavement Preservation (resurfacing roads). However, due to factors like stagnant funding and more cars using less gallons, the gas tax now only covers a portion of Corrective Maintenance, and leaves no funding for Pavement Preservation.

Funding Maintenance

Last Fiscal Year, the State allocated about $10 Million for Sonoma County’s 1,380 miles of roads. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors supplements Corrective Maintenance with discretionary funds every year, including $5.58 Million in Fiscal Year 16-17.

Funding Pavement Preservation

The Board has dedicated $11.5 Million in discretionary funds to Pavement Preservation annually for several years, and over $10 Million in additional one time funds. From 2013-2017 the Board will dedicate about $65 Million to Pavement Preservation, contributing to the resurfacing of about 300 miles of roads. 

We look forward to providing you with enhanced services in the next few years. These new road funds are a step towards our ultimate goal – bringing all Sonoma County Roads into good condition. 

Contact Information

Johannes J. Hoevertsz

Director

Transportation & Public Works
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Contact us by Phone
Office Location
La Plaza B
2300 County Center Drive
Suite B 100
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.462006, -122.725384