Whittier Narrows Dam Safety Modification Project
Disclaimer: Information about the Whittier Narrows Dam Safety Modification Project is constantly evolving and subject to change based on project updates from the USACE.
In 2016, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) placed the Whittier Narrows Dam in the agency’s highest risk category, “very high urgency” when it was determined that the dam posed a very high risk of failure, thereby exposing 25 cities and 1.1 million people to potentially catastrophic flooding. The City of Pico Rivera would immediately be impacted as it is located at the base of the dam.
To repair the dam and address this risk for failure, the USACE will be undertaking The Whittier Narrows Dam Safety Modification Project, a federally funded project that is expected to be completed by 2031.
The recommended plan reduces the dam’s risk of failure, therefore addressing the possibility of catastrophic flooding to populations downstream. The project is broken up into 4 contracts as described below:
- Contract 1: Utility Relocations near San Gabriel River
- Contract 2: Environmental Commitments
- Contract 3: Crest and Downstream slope hardening, trench drain, parapet walls, Rosemead Blvd road modification, relocation/protection of about 20 utilities
- Contract 4: Lincoln Ave road raise and shift, relocation/protection of up to 31 utilities.
Project Impact to Pico Rivera:
While the Project is essential to the health and welfare of millions of people, it also has significant impacts on the Pico Rivera community. In addition to typical construction-related impacts such as noise, vibration, and dust, the City will lose approximately 67% of its parks, open, and recreation space. The Pico Rivera Golf Club, Streamland Park, Bicentennial Park and Sports Arena Drive/Rooks Road will be closed indefinitely.
The remainder of the dam safety project is anticipated the have the following impacts during major construction, which is slated for 2025-2029:
- Traffic Changes along Lincoln Ave and Rosemead Blvd
- Temporary noise, vibration and dust which will impact bike riders, horse riders and walkers along the river bikeway
- Closure of Streamland Park, Golf Course, Sports Arena Drive and Bicentennial Park
City’s Efforts to Mitigate Impacts and Inform the Community:
The City will continue collaborating with the federal government to advance this project while simultaneously addressing its major impacts. The City is partnering with vested stakeholders at the local, state and federal levels of government to develop and implement a strategic, yet comprehensive mitigation program. USACE staff will also be providing a continuous presence at events and programs hosted by the City, allowing residents the opportunity to engage USACE and learn more about the project. City staff have launched a robust communications program engaging residents, City Council and all impacted businesses and stakeholders.
The City continues to aggressively advocate for funding to mitigate the impacts associated with the project and revitalize the parks, open spaces and city corridors that will be remaining following the completion of the project. The City has managed to secure nearly $50 million in competitive funds this year towards revitalization and mitigation efforts.