Moraga Officials Ask State For Help With Estimated $3.5 Million Sinkhole

Moraga is looking to the state for help after determining that damage caused by a sinkhole that appeared earlier this month calls for a multi-million dollar repair "far beyond" what the town can afford.

Moraga officials on Tuesday sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown requesting financial disaster assistance to pay for the $3.5 million repairs to fix the sinkhole's damage, acting Moraga Police Chief Jon King said today.

The sinkhole was first reported to police at about 2:30 p.m. on March 13 at Rheem Boulevard and Center Street, along a main Moraga thoroughfare that has remained closed since, King said.

PG&E had to pull resources to restore gas service that was lost after a traffic signal pole fell into the sinkhole and ruptured a gas line later that day.

That was one of the many infrastructure problems brought by the sinkhole. King said town crews discovered last week the extent of the destruction, after conditions were finally right for a safe inspection.

The damage includes hundreds of feet of storm drain piping, the sidewalk, curb and its pedestrian ramp as well as the gutter.

Town crews have revised an estimated cost to repair the damage to $3.5 million, including costs associated with the work required to backfill the cavity and restore the roadway, King said.

Moraga officials sent a letter both to Gov. Brown as well as the California Office of Emergency Services requesting assistance. 

Town crews still haven't determined the cause of the sinkhole and continue to investigate what led to the infrastructure failure.

Meanwhile, crews have deemed that the Rheem Boulevard and Center Street intersection is unsafe for traffic in its current condition, King said.

Motorists will have to rely on detours until further notice.Potential repair plans and the associated costs are tentatively scheduled to be presented to Moraga's Town Council on April 27.

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