Posted by: Jan | May 21, 2018

Construction Destruction would be avoided by Eastern Route


The alignment recommended by the independent reviewers is shown below – the Eastern Alignment. It would have gone next to I-5, reducing both truck and barge traffic through the Delta as well as any risks from tunneling under the Delta levees. It was decided against because of cost considerations, because that route is ten miles longer. But we all know, the economic and human impacts from the massive through-Delta construction destruction has not been calculated as part of the tunnel cost.

EasternAlignment

We have been telling every agency in comments and in person for almost ten years that they were going down the wrong alignment or, as Supervisor Skip Thomson told the DCDCA Thursday, they were going down the wrong tunnel.

At the start of all of this, someone should have drawn lines around the Delta, the fragile estuary, the place beloved by boaters and visitors throughout California, a place of historic towns and said, “This is what we want to protect.”

If they’d done that, then there would have been no “Through Delta” alignment alternative ever considered. Clearly there is no understanding of what it is we are trying to save.

In addition, scientists have said the soils through the Delta are not good for tunneling. Tunneling through the Delta is adding lots of risk – not only for the project, cost, and schedule – but also that settling can cause levee failures. And who knows what problems they could have going under the main river channels! Here’s the details about tunneling through the Delta.

The State’s own Independent Science Board years ago recommended the Eastern Alignment. Yet they were ignored.

The State Agencies have a history of ignoring science

This entire project was supposed to start with the Delta Flow Requirements but that 2010 scientific report said they were already exporting too much water. So the Delta Stewardship Council and Department of Water Resources ignored the report and looked for ways to export even more water.

It’s like the Oroville Dam. The DWR was warned about design flaws in the dam but for cost reasons, ignored them. The DWR now has been warned about the risks of tunneling through the Delta, are ignoring those risks, and plowing ahead to save money.

It’s like the Metropolitan Water District’s worst tunneling disaster. The current tunnel path goes through the largest natural gas field in California, the Rio Vista gas fields, but not East. MWD ignored warnings of gas fields when tunneling their Castaic tunnel, had an explosion from the gas, killed 17 workers. MWD is again ignoring the warning and not taking any of the recommended steps regarding tunneling through a gas field.

043018_1546_waterfixtun2
043018_1546_waterfixtun1
Images courtesy of the California Water Research, https://cah2oresearch.com/2018/04/30/waterfix-tunnel-construction-gas-wells/

A large justification for the tunnels is fear of future earthquake causing the levees to fall down. Yet the tunnels are not being designed to withstand a seismic event. Plus going through the shifting Delta soil will make any earthquake impacts worse. Plus they are going under the major river channels.

Why are then not going East?

With the risks to going on the current path, shouldn’t they step back, perhaps start with one tunnel and with the cost savings from that go the ten-mile longer but safer and less destructive route?

Wouldn’t that be a win-win?

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