Supervisors authorize bidding to repair damaged dam

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The Riverside County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Nov. 19, authorized the county Flood Control and Water Conservation District to begin soliciting bids from prospective contractors to repair segments of a dam north of Lake Elsinore that was damaged during torrential rains last winter.

In addition to bidding authorization for the Leach Canyon Dam Stage 90 Spillway Restoration Project, the board, without comment, also signed off on final plans and specifications for the $730,000 repair and restoration job.

Over the next 30 days, contractors will have an opportunity to submit their proposals for the work, which is one of a number of county-led efforts to patch up storm-damaged infrastructure since February.

The spillway project will entail construction of two walls, the addition of grouted rock areas, including a rock weir for flow control and some grading, according to agency documents. Bids must be received by Dec. 19.

The dam is located at the juncture of Amorose Place and Leach Canyon Road, at the foot of the Cleveland National Forest, which was ravaged by the 23,000-acre Hill Fire in August 2018.

The arson blaze denuded a mountainside below Santiago Peak, permitting stormwater to run unchecked onto lower slopes where multiple subdivisions are located.

During a Valentine’s Day storm series, floodwaters, mud and debris flows swamped neighborhoods in the area of Leach Canyon Dam, which could not handle the excess capacity.

Countywide, the storm impacts caused roughly $100 million in damage, including the partial loss of two highways – Routes 74 and 243 – in the San Bernardino National Forest near Mountain Center and Idyllwild. Repairs are continuing on both.