The Cambrian

Caltrans won’t change drainage near Cambria veterans hall

Water pools on the Pinedorado Grounds after heavy rains earlier this year.
Water pools on the Pinedorado Grounds after heavy rains earlier this year.

Despite some recent localized flooding, Caltrans will not modify existing drainage facilities between Highway 1 and West Village businesses in Cambria, according to emails between officials of the state road agency and the services district.

Those communications followed a March 1 walkabout in that area and others by representatives of Caltrans, San Luis Obispo County government, the Cambria Community Services District, American Legion Post No. 432 and the Cambria Chamber of Commerce.

Jerry Gruber, CCSD general manager, had coordinated the meeting because areas around the Veterans Memorial Building and Legion hall, and the Pinedorado grounds were flooded several times during this winter’s heavy downpours. The CSD owns the veterans building, which includes the Legion hall.

Gruber reported by email Monday, March 6, that Caltrans representatives had told him “they would not be modifying the existing drainage along Highway 1. Based on evaluating existing plans, they feel it would only make the matter worse. Caltrans encourages the CCSD to work with the county on improving existing drainage within the veterans’ hall parking lot and the Pinedorado area.

“We have not heard back from county staff yet regarding the drainage issues along the San Simeon Creek Road,” Gruber said. However, “we will be meeting with county staff the first week in April” on the other issues.

Lee Chavez is acting manager of maintenance for the northern region of Caltrans District 5. He said in a March 1 email to Gruber and others that department research had shown “the entire drainage system of concern was designed by George Gibson,” a county flood-control manager who has since retired. “After speaking with our engineers,” Chavez said, “we determined that we would not alter the drainage ditch from its current design in any way.”

Chavez advised Gruber, “If you would like to redesign your water-drainage system, which currently drains into our ditch and creek on the other side of Highway 1, it would have to be initiated with San Luis Obispo County. Any work performed on our right of way would have to be approved and permitted” by Caltrans.