Santa Clara Valley Water District completed in summer 2012 the first of seven segments of the Upper Guadalupe River slated for flood protection.
Reach 6 stretches nearly a half-mile from Interstate 280 to the Union Pacific Railroad crossing downstream of Willow Street and is part of the much larger Upper Guadalupe River Flood Protection Project. That project, when completed in full, will provide flood protection for nearly 7,000 properties from a 100-year flood, an event that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any year.
This project was an approximately $10.7 million investment of the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Program, approved by county voters in 2000. Reach 6 has had a long history with flooding. Since 1982, the nearby Guadalupe River had flooded five times, most recently in 1998 and more notably in 1995, when flood water submerged 150 homes near Alma Avenue and Virginia Street.
Project features include the widening of the floodplain extension of 100-feet of the West Virginia Street bridge and new plantings in the floodplain and upland areas. This work will potentially save millions of dollars in flood damage and void the need for homeowners to carry flood insurance upon completion of the entire Upper Guadalupe River Project.
On Sept. 8, a ceremony for neighbors of the work took place at the project site to mark the end of construction. The event was attended by United States Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo, water district Directors Linda LeZotte and Patrick Kwok and water district staff.
Removal from a flood zone designation must wait until the completion of the entire Upper Guadalupe River Flood Protection Project. Only then can the city of San Jose proceed with the revision of FEMA flood maps.
Economic conditions have impacted construction of these last miles, with expected federal funding to match local Clean, Safe Creeks special parcel tax dollars in jeopardy. The water district is working closely with representatives in Congress to recoup those funds to keep the project on track. Pending available federal funds, the Corps anticipates completing the Upper Guadalupe River by 2021.
Questions? For more information about the Reach 6 project, contact Engineering Unit Manager Ngoc Nguyen at 408-265-2607, ext. 2632. For comments or concerns, contact Neighborhood Liaison Tony Mercado at 408-265-2607, ext. 2342.