State of Emergency Declared in Morgan Territory, Alternative Routes Being Planned

Photo provided by Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff.

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution declaring an emergency in the Morgan Territory area.

According to county staff, this allows county staff to bypass environmental evaluations and streamline contracting protocols, providing for a shorter timeline to develop alternative routes and reconstruct Morgan Territory Road.

Staff presented information to the Board of Supervisors that the roadway is currently closed to traffic and the only way in and out is on a long and windy road with access only from the Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon side.

Early indications are the slide could be 300 feet wide and a 100 feet high which is a complex issue for public works to solve. There is also a waterline that is broken–a temporary water line was inserted to assist residents. PG&E work is also involved.

The resolution, in combination with an earlier countywide (and statewide) state of emergency declared during last month’s storms, also allows the county to begin seeking additional assistance from state and federal sources.

As of Tuesday, County Public Works staff are actively working on three alternative routes around the slide while monitoring ground movement to determine when it is safe to begin construction on Morgan Territory Road.

The exact timeline until an alternative route opens is unknown but expected to be in the days-to-weeks range. The following three routes are being explored:

  1. Oak Hill Lane to the Fire Trail (Requires approval from private property owners and the State Park)
  2. Whispering Pines Road to Marsh Creek Detention Center
  3. Leon Drive to Aspara Drive (This route is currently only suitable for emergency vehicle traffic)

In order to respect residents’ property rights, ensure public safety and follow the letter of the law, county staff must contact all residents along potential alternative routes and receive written approval before any activity begins on private property. The county does not have “police power” to take property.

Supervisor Diane Burgis has asked Public Works staff to make Morgan Territory their number one priority. That’s why they have been working over the weekends to make this happen.

“One of the big priorities is to come up with an alternative route out of there. I am hearing we have over 250 households which is up to 1,000 people that could be out there,” said Burgis. “Everybody knows when something like this happen its not the only thing happening in their lives, they may have an elderly parents, kids who need to get to school, they have work projects and doing all these different things. The inconvenience is more than that, this is very upsetting.”

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff highlighted that every day the county website is being updated with information.

“I’ve been watching some of the Facebook posts and can appreciate the frustration out there,” said Mitchoff.  “Contra Costa Water wasn’t able to get a water up for almost 7-days so they were trucking in bottled water and that seemed okay for a city girl, but they have livestock and they were having problems so our animal control helped in that regard. If you can imagine not having any water that means you can’t flush your toiler, so the inconveniences are more than any of us can imagine.”

Mitchoff added that there are other closures in the county right now, but that Morgan Territory had the most impact on residents.

Supervisor Burgis also highlighted how they have met with the officers of Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Senator Steve Glazer and Assemblymember Tim Grayson have met to seek assistance from state and federal agencies.