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Local resident demands transparency from Riverside County on timelines for road closures

On Monday, Riverside County provided an update on clean-up and repairs made to major county roadways in the Coachella Valley that have been closed in the wake of Tropical Storm Hilary, which caused major flood damage throughout valley communities.

Some of the most extensive damage was experienced in more rural areas of the county, including Sky Valley. While the county has released a timeline for when some roads will reopen, questions remain regarding a number of other roads that remain closed.

The amount of information released by the county so far has sparked frustration among some residents, like Tabitha Davies of Sky Valley, who said she feels left behind by the county.

She lives and works on Larsen Lane, which has been closed in the wake of the storm.

"If we had to call 911, they would not have been able to access us because the entire front of the road was non-drivable," said Davies, co-owner of All Big Canines in Sky Valley.

Davies said she has also had to cancel dog training classes because there are two other areas where the road remains impassable, which has impacted All Big Canines' bottom line.

"We've already had damage to our car, since Caltrans came in and did the fixing at the front because we drove over a rock," explained Davies.

One major road that Davies and other residents rely on is Thousand Palms Canyon Road, which runs between Thousand Palms and the communities of Indio Hills and Sky Valley. The road is currently closed between Dillon Road and Ramon Road. The County expects to have the roadway reopened by Friday, September 1.

However, Davies said the county has not clearly communicated to residents when that specific road, along with others, will reopen.

She said she's called the county and keeps getting voicemails. News Channel 3 has reached out to the county Transportation Department and to the office of Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, but have yet to hear back.

At a special meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors Monday morning, the Supervisors voted unanimously to ratify the County of Riverside’s proclamation of local emergency for this storm, in support of requests by Coachella Valley cities, and to seek a major presidential declaration in order to pursue the resources necessary for the damages and response costs to the county, valley cities and individual assistance.

“This is the most costly natural disaster in county history, with the damage sitting at an estimated $126 million, and the vast amount of damage in the Coachella Valley,” said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “The damage to our roads has been severe. Our transportation department has been out in force to clear the roads for access, but recovery and ultimately the repair and reopening of all roads will continue to take some time.”

For updates on road closures and openings click here.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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