For Immediate ReleaseMarch 4, 2021https://panetta.house.gov
Contact: Sarah Cronin(202) 225-4344Sarah.Cronin@mail.house.gov
Congressman Panetta Calls for Emergency Federal Funding Following January Storm Damage toNacimiento-Fergusson Road
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) has sent a letter to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) leadership requesting accelerated funding through the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program to support critical repairs of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road in the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF). The funding will be used to repair damages sustained during the January 2021 winter storms.
“After one of the worst wildfire seasons in local history, communities on the Central Coast are now dealing with the after-effects of the fires in the form of destructive slides due to the recent storms,” said Congressman Panetta. “Since part of Highway 1 is in the Pacific Ocean and inaccessible, many residents and first responders are relying on the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road as way to get to the South Coast of Big Sur. Unfortunately, this crucial access road is severely damaged and requires major repairs to remain in use. I am calling on the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration to activate the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads program for Nacimiento-Fergusson road to keep our communities connected to vital resources.”
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is a critical access point for Central Coast residents. It is the only east-west highway that connects Highway 1 and the Salinas Valley with Highway 101 and Big Sur. The road sustained critical damage during the Dolan Fire, which was worsened by the January 2021 storm that destroyed a portion of Highway 1 at Rat Creek.
Read the full text of the letter below:
Dear Administrator Pollack,
I write to request your full and fair consideration of accelerated Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding through the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program to support critical repairs of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road in the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF).
Earlier this year, an atmospheric river stalled over burn scars on the central coast of California, resulting in significant damage to Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and adjacent roadways, including a massive slip out of Highway 1 at Rat Creek.
As FHWA assesses the request and need for ERFO funding, I want to elevate the importance of continued repair and resiliency of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. With the large-scale damage at Rat Creek, effectively closing Highway 1 for the foreseeable future, Nacimiento-Fergusson Road has become a critical access throughway for residents, first responders, and small businesses on the South Coast of Big Sur. The road requires both major repairs to existing slips and immediate culvert clearance and rehabilitation to ensure that it remains intact in the anticipated event of additional rainfall. Engineers report that between 50 and 60 percent of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is in danger of major damage if no preventive action is taken.
I appreciate your timely consideration of this request that impacts not only Nacimiento-Fergusson Road as a federal transportation asset, but also surrounding residents and emergency response personnel who depend on the road to connect to the broader community.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office should you have any questions about Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and my support of ERFO funding to ensure its continued function.
Sincerely, Jimmy Panetta
Member of Congress