FRESNO, Calif. — The bill to repair California’s crumbling roads, dams and other critical infrastructure hammered by an onslaught of storms this winter could top $1 billion, including nearly $600 million alone for damaged roadways that more than doubles what the state budgeted for road repair emergencies, officials said Friday.
Adding to the problems, many communities have drained their emergency budgets and are looking to the state and federal government for help. But on top of the latest damage, the nation’s most populated state is struggling with a $6 billion annual backlog of repairs for roads, highways and bridges that leaders can’t agree on a way to fund.
Winter storms have dumped enough rain and snow on the northern part of the state to end a five-year drought. But with the wet weather, comes a host of problems for crumbling infrastructure.
A section of mountain highway between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe has buckled, with repairs estimated to cost $6.5 million. In the Yosemite Valley, only one of three main routes into the national park’s major attraction is open because of damage or fear the roads could give out from cracks and seeping water, rangers said.
On central California’s rain-soaked coast, a bridge in Big Sur has crumbled beyond repair, blocking passage on the north-south Highway 1 through the tourist destination for up to a year. Until it is rebuilt, visitors can drive up to view the rugged coastline, then turn back.
The total cost for…