A stretch of Wildcat Canyon Road heading out of Berkeley has been closed to all traffic since March after a landslide collapsed a section of roadway in the Tilden Regional Park. Contra Costa County has been working on a fix with federal relief dollars, but it may be another two years until the road reopens.
The estimated $4 million for the project will come from the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, and Caltrans will administer it, according to Jenna Caldwell, an engineer for the county’s Public Works agency and project manager for the reconstruction work.
Another, shorter stretch of Wildcat Canyon Road, between Parks Hills and Shasta roads, on Berkeley’s eastern border below Lake Anza, will also be closed until approximately Nov. 14 “for emergency slope repair work,” according to a traffic advisory on Berkeley’s city website.
The slide in Tilden followed a wetter-than-normal rainy season for the Bay Area, with 44.09 inches falling at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory compared to 39.58 inches the year before and 11.42 — an unusually low total — the year before that, according to data collected by the lab. Average rainfall at the lab is a little below 30 inches a year, according to the lab’s data.
Roughly 2.5 miles of the road have been closed between Inspiration Point and San Pablo Dam Road since the slide. The slide took place roughly 500 feet west of San Pablo Dam Road and damaged a 24-inch drainage culvert, which will be replaced in the reconstruction. The county is also looking to install a guardrail and, finally, reconstruct the roadway and shoulder.
Contra Costa County began designing the new roadway in August and is still working on designs for a retaining wall and other aspects of the project, according to Caldwell and the county website.
Caldwell said environmental impact studies are underway, and the county expects to get the necessary clearances under the California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Protection Act by the end of 2024.
“We anticipate construction to begin spring 2025 and be complete by fall 2025, after which the road will be reopened,” Caldwell said.
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