Daly City repairs for flooding could cost up to $200 million

A public-works plan to eliminate the flooding that plagues Daly City’s lowest-sitting neighborhoods and southern San Francisco streets around Lake Merced — estimated by city officials to cost up to $200 million — is expected to face challenges over its cost and proposed location.

Periodic flooding in Westlake Park and on 88th Street, Park Plaza Drive and John Muir Drive stems from an inadequate Vista Grande drainage system, built in 1895, that needs to be replaced, according to city officials.

“The problem is there has been a lot of urban development since the canal was built and it resulted in changing patterns of how and where the storm water flows,” City Manager Patricia Martel said.

Barbara Moyce-Smith, principal of Garden Village Elementary School that sits at a low part of the city, has gotten usedto seeing flooding near her school.

Public meetings sponsored by the city will be held on Thursday and Feb. 25 to present five system replacement proposals for what Martel called “the largest public-works project Daly City has ever undertaken.”

The replacement tunnel under consideration by the city — which could be more than 5,000 feet long — may run through the northern residential part of Daly City or the Olympic Club golf course. There are concerns by the owners of the golf course that the project could disrupt the U.S. Open Championship scheduled to be held there in 2012, Martel said.

There are separate concerns, according to a staff report, about construction at the tunnel’s end in Fort Funston, part of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area.

“My concern is there will be 20 years of horseplay with all these agencies before we get anything done,” said Richard Swan, a resident of Westpark who sued Daly City and the Olympic Club along with 43 other homeowners after their homes were flooded in 2004. “We have a serious problem in Daly City and it needs to be attended to. It doesn’t take much of a storm to overflow the canal.”

Daly City’s storm water has also washed away parts of the sidewalk along John Muir Drive in past years, according to interim public works Director Patrick Sweetland.

City staff will seek federal and state funding for the project, which is currently estimated to cost between $145 million and $200 million, Martel said. He said that raising the needed monies will likely take years.

Public meetings on the project will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 333 90th St. and Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Larcombe Clubhouse, 99 Lake Merced Blvd.

svasilyuk@examiner.com  

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