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Sacramento BEE article:


Flood safety project in south Sacramento proceeds

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A long-delayed flood-safety project in south Sacramento is set to resume next year with the award of a new construction contract.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the $5.9 million project Sept. 27 to Four M Contracting Inc. of Winters. It involves building a 10-foot-tall flood wall, about 3,000 feet long, along a section of Morrison Creek.

The South Sacramento Streams Group project has been stalled for nearly three years while the Corps negotiated a host of easement and access issues in the densely populated area.

In addition to neighborhoods encroaching on four creeks that flow through the area, Union Pacific and Sacramento Regional Transit railroad tracks also bisect the project.

As a result, finding adequate room for flood walls and levees has been difficult.

Residents of the adjoining Deerfield Mesa Grande neighborhoods began to worry that their concerns dropped to the bottom of the priority list amid bigger flood-control projects in Natomas and at Folsom Dam.

Some of that anxiety has been lifted.

"I am more than relieved," said Barbara Falcon, a neighborhood resident. "I think they realized that we got the short end of the deal, so they just got on it for us."

About 5,000 homeowners in the area must pay steep flood insurance premiums of about $1,350 annually until the project is finished.

Unlike many Natomas property owners, they have not been granted discounts during levee construction.

Flood wall construction is expected to begin in May and conclude by next October, said Marshall Marik, project manager for the Corps.

"We still have a lot of work to do on other parts of the system, but this is a truly big step in the process," he said.

When the flood wall is built, all areas of the project west of Franklin Boulevard will be completed. The Corps will then turn its attention east of Franklin, to upstream reaches of Morrison, Florin, Elder and Unionhouse creeks.

The Corps hopes to award a contract for the Florin Creek work in September. Funding and real estate rights are still pending.

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