Repairs to Arroyo Grande creek crossing could start soon

clambert@thetribunenews.comApril 2, 2013 

Vehicles drive over Arroyo Grande Creek on Huasna Road near its intersection with Lopez Drive, which has had more traffic on it recently, due to the closure of the Cecchetti Road concrete crossing.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Work could start in less than two weeks to repair a low-water crossing in rural Arroyo Grande that has forced drivers to use alternate routes to access the Huasna area and Branch Elementary School.

With little discussion and no public comments, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to fix a concrete deck on Cecchetti Road that crosses the Arroyo Grande Creek.

“It sounds like something that needs to be done,” Supervisor Bruce Gibson said.

If the weather cooperates, the repair work could start the week of April 15 and wrap up two to three weeks later, at a cost of about $50,000, said Frank Honeycutt, a project engineer in the county’s Public Works Department.

The road was closed in January after public works crews were alerted to a hole in the concrete deck. Further investigation revealed “a giant cavity underneath,” Honeycutt told supervisors.

Since then, motorists have had to detour to the other creek crossing on Huasna Road, driving a total of nearly three miles out of their way. Drivers can also access Branch Elementary and the Huasna area by taking Branch Mill Road.

However, Branch Mill Road is scheduled to be temporarily closed in summer 2015 for a bridge replacement project, and “the people in the (Huasna) valley would appreciate a second way to access the valley,” Honeycutt said.

According to the county, about 817 vehicles on average use Cecchetti Road each day, including residents, employees of agricultural operations and parents dropping off their children at Branch Elementary.

The repair is designed to last about five to 10 years, but a long-term solution to replace or upgrade the crossing, located about 1,000 feet south of Lopez Drive, would require more extensive environmental review.

For the short-term, public works officials plan to repair the crossing in a way that isolates the repairs from the creek to avoid impacts to water quality or endangered species, such as the southern steelhead, a type of trout.

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