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Lafayette Officials Discuss Road, Culvert Replacement

Update: Crews working on water and sewer lines on Mountain View Drive; sinkhole opened with pavement collapsed Sunday with water backed up on Lafayette Creek.

Update, noon Monday, quotes from Lafayette city manager.

Engineers, city officials and utility crews on Monday were working at the chasm in Mountain View Drive, Lafayette, to design a series of temporary and permanent fixes.

With the ground saturated by days of rain and water backed up at the culvert that conveys Lafayette Creek under Mountain View, a sinkhole buckled the blacktop on Sunday.

Water and gas service was interrupted to some residences in the lower stretch of the drive a couple of blocks south of Mount Diablo Boulevard, between Crescent Drive and Brook Street.

City Manager Steve Falk, on the scene Monday morning, said engineers and workers are addressing three issues:

  • Stabilizing one water line under Mountain View Drive that survived the collapse.
  • Forming a plan to restore the culvert carrying the creek past the drive. It might be a temporary culvert to accommodate the next day of rainfall, followed by a permanent culvert, Falk said. Or it might be an expedited job creating a permanent culvert. "I'm giving my engineers that challenge," said Falk, "to design a storm drain that will better address a flood event."
  • Begin a plan to replace the road over the creek. That might happen by the spring, Falk suggested.

The total bill for the replacement will be in the six figures, Falk estimated.

A period of heavy rain in 1997 blocked the culvert, forcing the water to flow over Mountain View Drive. But the drive did not collapse then, Falk said.

A trash rack of seven large aluminum tubes was built then to catch debris as it came down Lafayette Creek, which drains western Lafayette. City crews regularly clean debris from that rack, Falk said.

The debris — including limbs, logs and trash — stacked up Sunday before the Mountain View collapse. Still evident on the bank of the stream was a chest of drawers someone apparently dumped in the stream.

Motorists are being detoured around the break in Mountain View Drive. There are some residents who will need to drive a block and a half extra to avoid the severed street, Falk said.

"A handful" of residents remained without water Monday, Falk said. East Bay Municipal Utilities District workers were on the scene.

One customer was without gas Sunday, but it was restored by Monday. That customer happened to be a Lafayette elected (recently re-elected) official, Vice Mayor Mike Anderson, Falk said.

Temporary above-ground lines are conveying EBMUD water and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District sewage lines across the chasm.

Joshua Halloway December 03, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I was hoping to see a pic of the chest of drawers.
Linda Rosenthal December 03, 2012 at 10:28 PM
I live 50 yards from the collapse. Nothing but kudos for quick response. Very appreciative of Lafayette City Manager, Steve Falk, who was out on Sunday morning when it was all going down.
lovelafayette December 04, 2012 at 06:47 PM
This was not an accident but either a failure of Lafayette's public works department, city engineer, or perhaps homeowners. Who was responsible for preventing this disaster? Each home owner is responsible for maintenance of their section of the creek. Whose chest of drawers is that? Or is this a city responsibility? The part of Las Trampas Creek owned by the city in the Lafayette Community Park is very poorly maintained by the city, full of trash and woody debris that could cause a flood upstream. Public works declines to clean it up, says it is the Parks responsibility to keep the creek clean. I have been working with the SFRWQB to force Lafayette to clean up Las Trampas Creek after a parks employee illegally dumped into the creek and the city received a notice of violation of the Clean Water Act. Tax payers should be demanding to know what derelict city agency or personnel caused the sinkhole and the now unavoidable waste of $ to fix it. Start with when was the last time Public Works cleaned out the affected culvert? Think how many failed roads could have been fixed if we did not now have to pour money into the sink hole.
lovelafayette December 04, 2012 at 06:50 PM
http://lamorinda.patch.com/articles/good-weather-for-puddle-ducks The drawers are in this video.
Informed Citizen December 05, 2012 at 05:47 AM
All Lafayette property owners have been paying a significant and specific property tax on their annual bills "City of Lafayette", an ad valorum tax dating back 15+ years, which was passed as a "Road and Drain" (read: creek) Tax, for maintenance and upgrades. As previously stated by observant Patch readers, our City collects our infrastructure taxes but ignores our creeks. They are part of our drain (rain runoff) system. This culvert collapsed and the road bed above it sunk, because it was sorely neglected. The lack of maintenance created erosion around the culvert pipe, which then impacted soils in the vicinity of the EBMUD main. It was triggered by heavy rains, but negligence and public defalcation caused this. Our city Staff runs out for photo opps with clipboards and hardhats, to make it appear to gullible citizens that they are working hard; "on the job". Yeah, right. Next, you will read about the shortage of funds to maintain our drains, our creeks, our roads. The very thing that they take millions for every year from us, is being spent for things like six-figure salaries and benefits packages, and for a staff that has only increased in cost and size, when every other private business has shriveled to the bone. You can bet that there will be a new tax proposed soon "to fix our failing roads/drains/creeks". And voters will not even read their property tax bills to see that their tax monies are never enough...And so it goes.

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