The Cambrian

Santa Rosa Creek Road is prone to landslides. Now there’s money to fix it

A rockslide on Santa Rosa Creek Road closed the road between Highway 46 and near Cambria last March.
A rockslide on Santa Rosa Creek Road closed the road between Highway 46 and near Cambria last March.

Some Cambria roads, including an embattled section of Santa Rosa Creek Road, will be getting extensive attention and repairs in the next few years, thanks to some recently awarded grants.

A $919,323 creek road repair has an important side benefit: Restoring critical Santa Rosa Creek habitat areas for spawning steelhead.

Erosion in the area has been a problem for more than 20 years, according to farmer-scientist Michael Broadhurst of Cambria, vice chairman of the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District Board of Directors.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded the district a $653,250 grant to restore that habitat and repair the road along the Gerhardt property about 2.5 miles past the high school. Broadhurst said.

Additional funding came from the county and PG&E.

According to project information, perpetual streambank erosion there means that portion of the creek road is perennially at risk of falling into the creek. The road has collapsed there before.

In 2015, county officials approached the district board looking for solutions to this possible road failure, and, according to the information release, “we saw this as an opportunity” to fix both problems: Road safety and wildlife habitat restoration.

The release states that the district board has “been actively searching for grant funding since the engineered plans for this project were completed in 2016.”

The project is in the permitting phase, and work could begin by this fall.

Other projects

Two other local projects will be paid for with Federal Highway Administration funds, administered by Caltrans.

According to Mike Britton of county Public Works, one $999,300 project will repair metal-beam guard rails countywide, including “on Windsor Boulevard, across from Moonstone Beach Drive, and on Charing Drive as it comes down the road toward Main Street.”

The other project, funded at $555,800 for six locations countywide, will install LED street lights at Burton Drive and Burton Circle to help slow traffic there and highlight the 90-degree turn, especially for drivers who aren’t aware how sharp the curve is. “It’s not a gentle curve,” Britton said, “so we want to illuminate it better for nighttime traffic.”

However, it will be a while before those improvements will be in place, he said, estimating that construction on both projects would start in the summer of 2022.

Britton told NCAC leaders that “these locations were chosen as a result of a safety analysis performed by county staff” last year.

Despite five recent attempts, the county still hasn’t found funding or grants for another project that Public Works, the North Coast Advisory Council and area walkers, hikers and drivers have pushed for years — badly needed safety improvements along the steep Burton Drive hill between Eton Road and the Santa Rosa Creek Bridge.

It’s long been a local priority to improve the badly eroded, narrow, potentially dangerous area between Burton and the steep Village Lane slope, an area where many people walk to and from East Village, including some students from Santa Lucia Middle School.

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