Recent rainfall in California has impacted daily life in the Golden State, as numerous communities are under flood watches.
In South Orange County, it’s also slowing down the overall construction schedule of railroad track stabilization in south San Clemente.
A project update given to the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors on Monday, Jan. 9 said construction is now expected to be complete later than initially expected because of the torrential rain.
“We are losing some time right now due to equipment getting stuck in muddy conditions after the heavy rains last week,” said Jim Beil, executive director for capital programs with OCTA. “We have more significant rain predicted this week, and that may require some dry-out periods, so it’s looking like this will push our critical installation work out into March.”
The OCTA Board of Directors authorized emergency work last fall because of movement on the track, which is near a slope that frequently gets hit by ocean waves. Construction began in November, and it initially was expected to be completed in February.
“The slope in San Clemente has continued to hold up well against the rain and high surf, and work continues as much as possible through the heavy rains,” OCTA spokesperson Eric Carpenter said in an email. “Monitoring for any track movement is ongoing and around the clock. Substantial work has already been completed on the project, including the installation of the first row of soil nails and tie backs.”
Communication between OCTA and its partners, including the contractor and Metrolink and Amtrak, is ongoing and a decision about when to safely resume passenger service is expected in February, Carpenter said.
“The schedule remains subject to change, depending upon weather conditions,” Carpenter said.
The recent rain has drawn national attention, including from CBS News, which reported the storms are responsible for 14 deaths so far.
“The National Weather Service said rain was expected to continue through Tuesday after dumping up to 14 inches at higher elevations in central and Southern California,” CBS News reported. “After a brief respite, another storm was expected to barrel into the state in a few days, adding to the misery and further saturating areas already at risk of flooding and debris flows.”
Storms have flooded roads, caused power outages for some people and further contributed to concerns about ongoing coastal erosion and mudslides.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued multiple advisories for hazardous weather conditions in San Clemente, including a flood watch that’s in effect until 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10. Wind and high surf advisories are also in effect until Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday evening, respectively.
According to OC Public Works, the county is expecting to receive 2-3 inches of rainfall through Tuesday evening.
According to NWS, the downpour is the result of an atmospheric river that’s moving slowly southeastward.
Follow OC Public Works @OCPublicWorks and NWS @NWS on Twitter for periodic updates on the storm.