Bypass channel to remove 1,200 truckloads of dirt

2014-04-12T17:30:00Z 2014-04-14T13:32:00Z Bypass channel to remove 1,200 truckloads of dirtJANELLE WETZSTEIN Napa Valley Register
April 12, 2014 5:30 pm  • 

People traveling or working in the Soscol Avenue/First Street area will have a front-row seat over the next seven months as a federal contractor builds the largest ditch that Napa has ever seen.

Work is about to start on the much anticipated Oxbow flood bypass channel — 1,300 feet long (a quarter mile), 200 to 300 feet wide and as much as 12 feet deep.

Traffic delays, at least one street closure and dust are some of the main public impacts from the Army Corps of Engineers’ effort to reduce flooding in the Oxbow and Soscol Avenue areas.

When finished, the channel will divert about half the water from a so-called 100-year flood.

The sides of the enormous ditch will be covered with concrete walls, while the bottom will be mostly turf-reinforced matting, with some sections of concrete. During dry times, it will serve as public open space — complete with trails, river access and places to gather.

Nordic Industries Inc., which was awarded the $12.5 million federal contract, held two informational meetings last week to let the public know about specific details of the work to come. Roger Lueck, a Nordic representative, said mass excavation of the channel will begin on the east side of the site, near McKinstry Street and the Napa Valley Wine Train parking lot.

“Throughout the major construction portion of the project, there will be some dust and noise from traffic and construction,” he said. “But hopefully we can minimize most of it by keeping it contained in the channel itself.”

The contractor will be digging up 150,000 cubic feet of earth and hauling most of it down Soscol Avenue to the Napa Pipe project site on Highway 221. Large trucks will be running continuously from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, along designated routes.

Some 30,000 cubic feet of material will be relocated within the channel for landscaping, said Lueck.

“We’re looking at about 1,200 truckloads total,” he said. “That’s somewhere between 12 and 13 trucks per day hauling for a total of 60 working days. But if there’s going to be major disruption, we’ll warn the public in advance.”

One such warning will come when the company shuts down McKinstry Street for 45 days in the late summer to lower the street across the bypass. Sara Southam, owner relations and property manager of the Westin Verasa Napa hotel on McKinstry, said she’s not looking forward to that portion of the project.

“Construction is always tough to get through,” she said. “But at least the work isn’t occurring in our peak season.”

When hauling begins from the east side of the planned channel, trucks will enter the site off McKinstry, on the south edge of the Napa Valley Wine Train parking lot. They will load up and exit at the same location, travel north to Soscol Avenue and drive south to Kaiser Road — eventually dropping the truckload at the Napa Pipe site.

Later, on the west side of the project, trucks will access the bypass off the dead end of West Street, and drive east on Pearl Street to Soscol.

Nordic hopes that the majority of excavation and channel construction work will be finished by the end of November, leaving only landscaping and concrete and trail work through the following summer. The project is expected to be completed by June 2015, but Lueck pointed out that after Dec. 1, very little heavy construction will occur.

Nordic will also remove the redwood trees, which were trimmed in March to look like large toothpicks, and bury the trunks in the Napa Creek bank to create fish habitat.

“We trimmed the trees that way to prevent birds from nesting in them before we cut them down” Lueck said. “But everything you see will be 100 percent used.”

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(9) Comments

  1. nwnapan
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    nwnapan - April 12, 2014 7:12 pm
    Can't wait to see what they uncover...
  2. glenroy
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    glenroy - April 13, 2014 6:38 am
    This project is so far over budget it reminds me of a Colonel who after visiting Mare Island suggested they do away the estimating and budgets and just try to get something done.
  3. Arnie
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    Arnie - April 13, 2014 9:32 am
    This project has benefitted our community and now downtown Napa will never flood again. are so negative about everything and everyone and I feel sorry for someone like you who has nothing nice to say about anything or anyone.
  4. jrab
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    jrab - April 13, 2014 9:34 am
    And yet nobody addresses the parking situation. The old Cinedome parking lot will be pretty much gone. That is one of the only all day parking areas downtown. Those of us who work down there (and pay the high downtown rents) are going to have nowhere to park, let alone offer parking to our clients! The limited 3 hour street parking spaces won't be available, as the 50+ of us who work in that area and need all day parking will be busy shuffling our cars back and forth between them to avoid tickets. Or probably as the city is hoping, just leave them there and collect a bunch of tickets. More revenues for the city!
  5. Mashed Potatoes
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    Mashed Potatoes - April 13, 2014 11:32 am
    Who is going to pay for the damage tom our roads by these trucks. The city has no plan as usual.
  6. mom2teens
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    mom2teens - April 13, 2014 2:22 pm
    Wait.....some math isn't making sense. To quote Mr. Lueck: “We’re looking at about 1,200 truckloads total,” he said. “That’s somewhere between 12 and 13 trucks per day hauling for a total of 60 working days." 1200 truckloads total over 60 working days (assuming by working days ... he means the actual days these trucks will be working and moving the loads of dirt) equals 20 truckloads a day. I hope budgets and trucks needed haven't been made based on 12-13 truckloads a day if they are actually moving 1200 truckloads in 60 days.
  7. eyes open
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    eyes open - April 14, 2014 1:19 pm
    "enormous ditch covered with concrete walls" and some kind of matt/turf/concrete bottom sounds hideous. I'm no biologist but it also sounds wildlife-unfriendly also.

    Do animals and or people for that matter get to slide in unable to get out if they get near the sides? Will they become slippery and ugly with algae growth?

    When I was a kid, most creeks and water sources were natural and supported easy to find frogs, crawdads etc. Now they are all paved over and there are no more small wildlife to be found in them.

    It sounds like an eyesore at the very least. Is this the best we can do?

    Thank you for the article
  8. Truth Addict
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    Truth Addict - April 14, 2014 1:36 pm
    Arnie, I agree with you that this project is a huge improvement for our community, even for those of us who do not live in the flood zone. I hope for the sake of the downtown work force and business owners that there is a remedy for the parking situation. Don’t pay any attention to Glenroy – I would imagine by now that most of us have come to the understanding that he just has a personal ax to grind. Even as a registered Republican, I don’t agree with 99% of what he says…… and that’s a made up statistic too.
  9. Eric Hagyard
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    Eric Hagyard - April 15, 2014 9:53 am
    I was at one of the contractor's presentations and my understanding is that it will take 12,000 truck trips total (10yds/truck x 12,000 trips = 120,000yards removed) So, the 12 or 13 trucks will each be making 16 roundtrips/day, for a total of about 200 truckloads/day. And 200/day x 60 days = the required 12,000 trips.

    Another way of looking at: if you were to stand on the trucking route, about every 2.5 minutes you would see one full truck and one empty truck go by in opposite directions.

    On this stretch, from the traffic data I could find, the average daily trips in both directions are about 11,000 in both directions, making 200 trips/day about 1.8% increase on that average. And the total 12,000 trips needed are roughly equal to one day of use (although these trucks are clearly much heavier than average vehicle)

    As for the design of the bypass, everything I have seen looks great, and I am looking forward to a 14 acre park in the heart of downtown with walking trails, etc.
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