Costly repairs from parade of destructive storms in Santa Cruz County could take years
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY -- Officials in Santa Cruz County estimate the damage from this winter's storms will cost at minimum $90 million to repair and likely stretch over months and years.
"We have about $90 million in damage cumulatively from late December through March. We are in scramble mode constantly and have been for a number of months now. But this work of repairing storm damage really doesn't end," said county spokesperson Jason Hoppin.
Hoppin says the federal and state government should help with a significant amount of the repair costs. But he cautioned residents to be patient, noting that there is still a backlog of 73 unfinished road repairs from 2017 -- the last time the area experienced an exceptionally wet winter.
"Your local government is going to be on a treadmill forever," he explained. "Unless there's a way to do the repairs quicker. Unless that money comes in faster, we're just going to be working on these things in perpetuity."
Hoppins says time for designing, permitting and securing the funding for repair projects accounts for much of the backlog. But that is little comfort for county residents, especially those living in mountain areas.
"People are just stuck; they're literally stuck," said area resident Sussio Sanchez outside the grocery store in Boulder Creek. He runs a small catering business and says it's been increasingly difficult to make it into the Bay Area for supplies.
"There's no way in or out sometimes. Last week, I had to go up to the Bay Area and there was one way out -- a little backroad. And I got stuck up on the side of a log," he said.
for more features.