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Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria Public Works crews ready to respond if needed during this week’s storms

Santa Barbara County Public Works Trucks

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – With the stronger of two storm systems this week ready to arrive onto the Central Coast tomorrow, Santa Barbara County Public Works crews are poised and prepared to respond to any potential emergency situation if needed.

"The County of Santa Barbara is ready," said Chris Doolittle, Santa Barbara County Public Works Project Manager. "We've continued to to revise our response, and this year was kind of a monumental year, and we're we're ready for the next disaster."

Doolittle pointed out county crews, along with several local contractors, have been hard at work throughout the year following last winter's devastating storms.

"We've had a very long disaster recovery season," said Doolittle. "We kept a declared disaster pretty much through November, end of December. We've been working on disaster recovery for the whole time, and so we've had approximately 155 disaster sites that we've responded to."

Doolittle pointed out that work on the majority of the disaster sites has already been completed, with a significant of the work coming from the county transportation and maintenance departments.

"We had to bring in quite a lot of contractor help in order to expedite the repairs," said Doolittle. "This year was really working on go into full completion of those disaster repairs in an emergency opening or initial response phase, and so we've basically completed about 75% of all of our disaster sites, and those are FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) sites."

In the City of Santa Maria, this year has been a similar story for its Public Works Department, which has also completed several repair and maintenance projects over the past several months.

"You've seen a lot of road work taking place," said Brett Fulgoni, Santa Maria Public Works Director, We've done a lot of paving jobs to try to minimize the amount of potholes that are going to form this year. Storm drains have been cleared and clean. The Utilities Department has worked hard at that, and our Public Works works crews have pre stocked all the sand piles for sandbags in the areas and we've pre-staged all of our equipment. We've certainly worked throughout the last year to prepare for this winter. Last winter was extremely challenging, but we know that with an El Nino coming up that we're going to have our work cut out for us this year, so we worked really hard to try to prepare for this winter as well."

As the brunt of this week's storm is expected to arrive on Wednesday, Fulgoni said work staffing should remain at normal levels, but could change if conditions warrant.

"We'll be fully staffed and then, but this time of year gets a little bit difficult with the holidays," said Fulgoni. "We try to respect everybody's ability to take some time off with their families, but we have a willing group of people that know their job, and know that they need to respond to these types of events, so if it's a big event, then everybody's working."

Article Topic Follows: Weather News
Santa Barbara

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Dave Alley

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