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Moraga’s Great Depression – Making More Holes To Fix The Big One At Rheem Center

Moraga's "Great Depression."

A joke making the rounds around Moraga these days has town leaders seeking a new motto for the town seal at a town meeting, the motto drawn from some frequently seen local landmark. A hand at the back of the room raises and the resident is recognized, the resident offering: “Road Work Ahead?”

Call it gallows humor but Moragans are feeling the pain since The Great Depression swallowed the strategic crossroads at Rheem Boulevard and Center Street, triggering a chain reaction expected to cost at least $3.5 million to fix.

Right now, Moragans are skirting the caution tape and chain link fencing around The Pit, finding new routes to reach old destinations now closed to them. A spaghetti-tangle of electrical natural gas patches is keeping the adjacent businesses at Rheem Center alight and cooking – with responsible agencies and civic leaders saying they are looking for more permanent solutions before the high heat of summer causes energy consumption to spike.

In an update issued by the Town Thursday, town engineers advised that two test pits will be dug to “determine the exact alignment of the damaged 96-inch storm drain corrugated metal pipe that is buried approximately 23 feet deep in the ground.”

Town staff are expected to present the results of the forensics study and a repair recommendation to town council members on April 27.

The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is also reported sending a representative to look at the – hole – and determine what financial support the state can give to effect its repair.


  1. Dig 2 more holes??
    It’s an 8 foot diameter storm drain. Can’t they just send some 5’6″ person or some robot in there with a flashlight and video camera?

    When the proverbial truck got stuck under the short overpass, it was a twelve year old who said,
    “Can’t we just let the air out of the tires?”. Maybe it’s time to find that kid.

  2. David, the problem with your proposed solution is it makes too much sense! When I was bidding on a video project for the Dept. of Homeland Security several years back, my proposal was rejected because “the multiplier was too low”. Basically, they were looking for a higher cost for the same amount of work. Government = expensive.

  3. Moraga Road has sure been a mess lately. Getting out of 24 hour fitness on the Moraga Road and turning north is not easy.

  4. You can buy a LOT of Bondo and silicon caulk for $3.5 million. I wonder what they used last time. Oh, yeah, now I remember. It’s not the cost of the materials. It’s what you pay the consultants to tell you where to place it.

  5. I get that there’s a great big yarn ball of stuff under the part of town but three and a half million (I’m guessing it will be more in the end) seems like a lot to fix this. I’m not an engineer but wow.

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