Marin County officials declared a local state of emergency Friday over severe storm damage that has shut down lanes on Highway 37 in Novato, with much of the closures expected to last through the weekend.
"The declaration would allow the County to apply for state and possibly federal aid to reimburse the County for infrastructure repairs and other related expenses," the county said in a statement.
Engineers and experts have been working around the heavily damaged areas, analyzing embankments and levees to minimize damage to roadways and properties.
The water from the midweek storm eroded the foundation underneath a set of railroad tracks and caused a levee break after Novota Creek, which passes under Highway 37, exceeded capacity.
County officials said the floodwater needs to recede out to San Pablo Bay before the full extent of the damage can be accurately determined.
The impacted railway is for freight trains and runs east-west parallel to Highway 37, according to county officials. Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit commuters are not impacted by the damage.
All westbound lanes on Highway 37 from Atherton Avenue to Highway 101 in Novato are closed, and eastbound traffic is facing a partial closure, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Westbound Hwy-37 Closure until 8:00 am— Novato Police (@NovatoPolice) February 15, 2019
Marin CHP anticipates a closure of westbound Highway 37 this morning due to flooding on the roadway until 8:00 am. The closure will be from Atherton Ave to the US 101 interchange. Please use alternate routes. pic.twitter.com/RyFmplukJG
On Friday night, crews decided to shut down one eastbound lane to give crews and contractors access to fix the breached levee. The lane will stay closed until the repair is finished, CHP Marin said Saturday.
Some drivers are upset because they thought recent work on the road was supposed to prevent this kind of thing from happening.
"They retrofitted it last year they fixed it. It’s going to be pretty hard on us. My reaction to it, I’m a little disappointed," Sonoma resident Cameron Stuckey said.
CHP officials said the work was done to improve drainage. "All that is holding. It’s not the same problem that happened here," CHP said.