Bradley Road Culvert Project Progressing, Albeit Slowly

A few hours of rain Thursday created partial flooding of Bradley Road. Thursday's morning rain ...

A few hours of rain Thursday created partial flooding of Bradley Road.

Thursday's morning rain in Menifee was a reminder of a road project that is on the minds of local residents whenever street flooding is a possibility.

The stretch of Bradley Road that crosses Salt Creek north of Newport Road was only slightly flooded on Thursday, but many remember previous rainstorms in which the road was closed to through traffic because of water that flows over the street at its lowest point. The two pipes that currently serve as drainage under the road have proven insufficient to prevent flooding at that point.

The installation of block culverts at that location has been in city plans for nearly two years. A city official said Thursday that much progress has been made in the complex process of receiving approval for and funding the project, but that the completion of the project isn't expected for about a year.
These are the drainage pipes currently in place.
Rob Johnson, senior manager of community improvement, said a months-long process of securing environmental permits for the project should be completed by the end of next week. After that, the city will be able to put the project out for bid and award a construction contract. Even so, he estimates that with the possibility for further environmental review requirements, construction wouldn't begin until the summer of 2013 and would be completed by fall 2013.

"Capital improvement projects -- especially those that are near and/or affect sensitive habitat like the nearby Salt Creek -- can take months of behind-the-scenes work before the public starts to see tangible progress above ground," Johnson said. "We certainly understand this can be frustrating; however, we're hoping this information will help better explain the complete process."

Don Allison, the city's chief engineer, told the city council in early 2011 that the cost estimate was $300,000 to $400,000. The plan calls for culverts 30 inches high and eight feet wide. They wouldn't raise the elevation of the street but would greatly increase drainage under it.

At that time, Allison estimated that construction would begin by this summer. Johnson said Thursday that the process of working with the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Fish & Game has turned out to be a lengthy one, however.

"Applications for work performed in sensitive habitat areas are laborious and must be done properly or the agency will send it back for revisions," Johnson said. "It's much like an investigation to determine if any species, plant or animal, will be displaced or harmed before, during or after construction."

Bradley Road is a crucial artery connecting the main business