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New Oceano drainage system prevents flooding at problem intersection during recent storm

Posted at 3:22 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 22:48:20-05

Decades of flooding on the main thoroughfare in Oceano may be a thing of the past.

A significant storm brought heavy rain to the Central Coast and flooded many roads, but Highway 1 was free of water thanks to a new drainage system.

The intersection of 13th Street and Highway 1 in Oceano, normally plagued by flooding, remained open to drivers through the first big winter storm of the year.

Before flood control efforts, the roadways were filled with water after storms, but after the new drainage system was completed mid-2020, almost no water can be seen in the streets.

2-17-17 Flood Photo-page-001.jpg
Picture (taken in the afternoon on February 17, 2017) shows the flooding of Highway 1 and 13th Street after two inches of rain in 24 hours.
1-28-21 No-Flood photo-page-001.jpg
Picture (taken in the afternoon on January 28, 2021) shows little to no water on Highway 1 and 13th Street after two inches of rain in 24 hours.

“It's serving its purpose as expected. Again, it captures the smaller rain events. For larger rain events, you may see some puddling, but it will quickly disappear,” said Genaro Diaz, San Luis Obispo County Public Works Capital Projects Manager.

According to San Luis Obispo County Public Works, the Oceano drainage project includes installation of underground pipes, inlets, cleanouts, and minor sidewalk improvements

If more funding becomes available, county public works is looking to implement similar mechanisms in other problem areas like Cambria and Avila Beach.

“We are always looking to solve problems, obviously, but with limited funds, we are all tight on what we can do. We are continuously looking for grants to partner up with agencies to fix flooding issues,” Diaz said.

He added that this system may not fix all flooding-related issues but has proven to be effective so far.

Diaz says the Oceano drainage project was made possible thanks to funding from Caltrans, San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.