Watch CBS News

Flood walls going up along San Jose's Coyote Creek 7 years after devastating floods

Flood control walls going up along Coyote Creek in San Jose to prevent repeat of 2017 floods
Flood control walls going up along Coyote Creek in San Jose to prevent repeat of 2017 floods 02:59

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is building flood walls along Coyote Creek in San Jose which are designed to prevent a repeat of the floods of 2017.

"The water came over this bridge and all those streets back there, all of that was underwater," said Robert Gutierrez, who lives near the banks of Coyote Creek and was among the hundreds ordered to evacuate.

"It freaked a lot of people out. There are a lot of homes here with multiple families in these homes and they didn't know where to go," said Gutierrez. "They just came in the middle of the night and told people to get out of their homes. People started just grabbing stuff and leaving. They didn't know where they were going. I stayed in my home, I didn't go."

Fortunately for him, the gamble paid off and his house did not go underwater. But in hopes of preventing future floods, the Valley Water District is building thousands of feet of steel flood walls along the creek in places identified as flood-prone.

"We are currently in the construction of the first part of the project which will be completed by the end of the year," said Bhavani Yerrapotu of the Valley Water District.

Massive sheets of steel are driven into the ground along the banks of the creek, leaving 5 to 10 feet exposed to form a barrier against rising waters. Nine miles of walls will be built between Montague Expressway and Tully Road.

The flood walls are also part of the Anderson Reservoir retrofit, which will include a larger tunnel to discharge huge amounts of water down Coyote Creek during periods of heavy rain to prevent overflows such as occurred in 2017.

Gutierrez says seven years after the floods, he's glad something is finally getting done.

"I think that would make a big difference because this water just needs to be controlled," he said.

Phase 2 of the project will begin in the spring of next year and should be completed by the end of 2025. The project cost is $339 million dollars and is being funded by consumer water rates and recent bond measures that were passed by voters, according to the Valley Water District.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.