Santa Ana River dirt is going to save the city about $2.4 million.
The city for years has needed dirt to cover an old landfill near Central Park. Work by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Santa Ana River now is providing a source of that needed fill.
At its March 15 meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to allow a contractor working for the Corps of Engineers to haul some river dirt into Huntington Beach. Louis F. Sandoval, city director of public works, said part of the soil would cover an old city-county landfill near Talbert Avenue and Gothard Street. The rest of the trucked-in dirt will be used to cover a former mushroom farm near Talbert and Golden West Street.
Both fill sites are on potential parkland near Central Park.
“The proposed work will create proper drainage and will save the city between $1.2 million and $2.4 million over the next three years,” Sandoval wrote in a report to the council. He said the city is getting 435,000 cubic yards of free soil and grading that it would otherwise have to purchase.
Sandoval warned that the truck hauling may have a down side: possible complaints about traffic and noise during the four-month operation scheduled to begin next month.
While the city will closely patrol the truck traffic, Sandoval said there probably “will be many residents and business owners along haul routes who will be annoyed and inconvenienced by the hauling operations.”
He said the city will limit the number of trucks, the speed limits and the hours of operation. Specific haul routes have yet to be decided, but Talbert and Garfield avenues both connect with the Santa Ana River and are likely streets to be used.
“The work will begin in April and will continue for four months,” Sandoval said.
The Corps of Engineers project involves widening part of the Santa Ana River bed and building higher concrete retaining walls along the river bank. Work on the river in the Huntington Beach-Fountain Valley area was halted last fall, when the rainy season began, but is scheduled to resume in April.
The river project is aimed at providing better drainage and flood protection.