California Department of Transportation
Headquarters - Public Affairs Office
January 28 , 2005
STORM TOTAL: MORE THAN $85 MILLION
Sacramento – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) today announced it will cost more than an estimated $85 million to clean up, reopen and repair state highways, following a series of severe winter storms across California from late December to mid-January.
The cost is expected to go even higher when a final analysis is completed to determine the full extent of repairs that will be necessary. The department is using existing budget resources to pay for the current cleanup. No funds have been diverted from other transportation projects.
“I have issued 58 emergency contracts worth more than $46 million to get California’s highways back in order,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton. “Caltrans has mobilized a 2,000 person-strong workforce so businesses can deliver goods and motorists can get where they need to go.”
State highways in Ventura, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties have suffered the most. There are now $16 million worth of emergency road contracts in Los Angeles County, $7 million in Ventura County and $8 million in San Bernardino County.
“The efforts and dedication of the department’s Maintenance Division employees has been outstanding,” added Kempton. “They have exhibited the highest and best tradition of public service.”
Excessive snowfall in northern California’s Siskiyou County and the northern Sierra put a strain on Caltrans crews, with many working 12-hour shifts with no days off. More than 13 feet of snow fell in the Tahoe Basin during a two-week period, closing Interstate 80 for 39 hours, compared to a total closure time of 94 hours during the entire 2003-2004 winter season.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in eight California counties: Ventura, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern, Orange and San Diego. The Governor asked the White House to declare these counties disaster areas. If the request is approved, it should make federal funds available to the State and local governments to assist with highway repairs and reconstruction.
For the latest road conditions and traveler information motorists can call the Caltrans Road Information line at 1-800-427-7623 (916-445-7623 outside California), or visit the Caltrans web page at www.dot.ca.gov.