(photo is an artistic rendering)
Milpitas has seen its share of historic flooding from local creeks during the 80s and 90s. Some good news for residents and businesses this year – flood protection work is continuing this summer along Lower Berryessa Creek.
The project will improve flood protection by raising the levee height on one side and constructing a higher flood wall on the other side to help carry water flows during large storm events. The work also improves creek access and environmental habitat, and is expected to cost between $40 and $50 million dollars. A water district fund called the “Watershed and Stream Stewardship Fund” – collected primarily from property taxes – is paying for this project.
To prepare for the arrival of BART coming into Milpitas and Silicon Valley, the water district partnered with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to design and construct a new, wider and longer railroad crossing over Berryessa Creek near the Abel Street bridge to keep water safely away from properties during storm events. Construction of the bridge was completed in 2011.
The work starts at Abel Street and extends to Calaveras Boulevard (see orange line on map below). The project also includes modifications to Tularcitos Creek and Calera Creek (see red) which are smaller creeks that feed into Lower Berryessa Creek. Last summer, the water district began construction work from the Milmont Drive bridge to Abel Street (see yellow line on map). Work is targeted to be completed by December 2016. Following the completion of the project, new plantings will re-vegetate the creek with native plants. The new plantings will help support the creek’s environmental habitat.
The entire Lower Berryessa Creek project extends approximately 1.7 miles through the city of Milpitas. After this project is completed along with the Upper Berryessa Project in San Jose, more than 3,400 properties will be protected from a 100-year flood. This is a type of storm event which has a one-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year.
Project information is available on the water district’s website: www.valleywater.org/services/LowerBerryessaCreek.aspx.
You also can sign up to receive project updates by clicking on the link at the bottom of the project’s webpage.