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California Department of Transportation

Ventura County, CA: (Aug-04-07) Over a dozen homeowners brought a lawsuit against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), alleging that the agency was responsible for the damage caused when a winter deluge sent mud, water, and debris cascading over the Pacific Coast Highway and into the coastal community of Seacliff a few miles north of Ventura. In a separate, but confidential agreement, the homeowners also settled with Occidental Petroleum, formerly Vintage Petroleum. The suit stated that negligence by both Caltrans and the oil company contributed to the damage from the Jan. 10, 2005 flood and requested $4.4 million of that to cover property damage and the rest for pain and suffering.

When the Seacliff ramps were built in 1970, Caltrans added a culvert to an existing one meant to take run-off from Madriano Creek under the roadway and into the ocean. At least one of the culverts, the one right next to Seacliff Colony, was filled with dirt before the storm. As for the oil company, workers there had piled pipes across a disused footbridge that spans Madriano Creek and the creek itself had never been cleared of debris. When rain hammered the county, the old pipes, footbridge and debris in the creek created a sort of dam, creating landslide conditions. In a settlement reached, the California Department of Transportation agreed to pay the owners of about a dozen homes a total of $1.2 million for the damage. [VENTURA COUNTY STAR: SEACLIFF FLOODING]

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Published on Aug-6-07


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