For Oceano residents, the recent rains once again mean days of wading through flooded roads, yards, and basements. But a soon-to-start paving project along Highway 1 is expected to help.
The San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Works announced on March 17 plans to begin paving a number of streets near the intersection of Highway 1 and 13th Street in Oceano, where roads are routinely closed due to flooding after even moderate rainfall.
It's all part of the Oceano Drainage Improvement Project, which has been in the works for years, according to Public Works Project Manager Genaro Diaz. New storm drain inlets and pipes were already installed near the intersection of Highway 1 and 13th Street, and Diaz said fresh pavement is the finishing touch.
"This will minimize the number of flooding events in the Highway 1 and 13th Street intersection," Diaz told New Times, "as well as reduce flooding potential to residents in the Meadow Creek Lagoon area."
Starting March 19, pavement will be laid on portions of several roads, including Highway 1, Front Street, Paso Robles Street, and 13th and 15th streets. The pavement will be laid with crown in the center of the roads, so that storm water on the east side of Highway 1 is pushed toward the new storm drains.
There will be some road closures and traffic control measures throughout the paving process, but Diaz said county staff expect the Oceano Drainage Improvement Project to be completed in full by the end of April. That, of course, depends on the weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of now, Diaz said county construction work hasn't been impacted by coronavirus. But that could change.
The $4 million construction project is being funded by several local, state, and federal programs and grants, including the Oceano Community Service District Fund and a U.S. Department of Agricultural loan.
Oceano has long suffered flooding issues and while the county has been trying to improve the situation for years, the project involves a number of agencies and funding sources. But Diaz said it's moving along nicely now.
"This Oceano Drainage Project is on schedule, under budget, and it's a very complicated project due to all of the agencies involved," he said.