Palo Colorado’s long road to repair

MONTEREY – It has been more than two years since the winter storms of 2017 ravaged Palo Colorado, among other areas, causing infrastructure damage and closing access to remote areas of the Ventana Wilderness via roads and trails.

Regaining full access to areas such as Bottcher’s Gap and beyond are on the horizon, but still far off.

A recent announcement that almost $1.7 million had been awarded to Monterey County for reimbursement of Palo Colorado road repairs turns out to be a drop in the bucket.

The grant reimbursed 75% of the total of a little more than $2.2 million, the maximum the county could receive, or any Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement can receive. That’s under Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act which authorizes the funding. That leaves about $550,000 in unpaid bills.

According to the county, the obligation for the funds is for repair work on upper Palo Colorado.

“Regarding the difference between the $2.2 million and the $1.66 million, the typical convention is that the state (California Office of Emergency Services) will participate in up to 75% of that difference …and the local agency needs to fund the balance and any overages that FEMA and the state believe is non-eligible,” said Maia Carroll, Monterey County spokeswoman.

Map of Palo Colorado Road from Highway 1 to Camp Pico Blanco. (Google maps)

But the damage to Palo Colorado that runs roughly from Highway 1 to Bottcher’s Gap – or milepost 1.0 to milepost 7.4 – and will cost an estimated $19 million to repair.

There is another 3.5 miles of Palo Colorado Road from Bottcher’s Gap to Camp Pico Blanco at the end of the road, but according to Carroll, the stretch of road past milepost 7.4 is beyond the county-maintained portion.

That portion of road comes under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies, according to USFS documents.

Lower Palo Colorado repair work from mile marker 1.0 to mile marker 3.2 – with an estimated cost of $400,000, of which $335,600 is obligated for reimbursement – is tentatively scheduled to begin after upper Palo Colorado repair work is complete.

According to the county, there is no work between milepost 3.2 and post 4.0 that FEMA/CalOES will reimburse or fund.

“Rocky Creek Bridge repairs were estimated to be about $7 million, and its cost to date has been $5.2 million,” said Randell Ishii, Monterey County chief of public works. “(Monterey) County has received $61,911 for

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle


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