Los Gatos sues Santa Clara County for fraud, breach of contract

The city of Los Gatos has filed a lawsuit accusing Santa Clara County of covering up needed repairs along Shannon Road.

In a lawsuit filed last month, Los Gatos is seeking $5.5 million in damages for fraud, breach of contract and negligence.

“Eager to unload a particularly problematic section of Shannon Road in the hills adjacent to Los Gatos, county public works workers actively concealed from the city that the road was in need of multimillion-dollar repairs,” the lawsuit reads.

The problematic 1,300-foot road from Santa Rosa to Diduca Way was owned by the county prior to its annexation of Los Gatos in 2018. It flows through the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, climbs 570 to 685 feet above sea level, and has a storied history. For breaking pavement and other issues.

Once an extension of the road was taken over, the county transferred repair and maintenance responsibility to the city.

Los Gatos is arguing that the county made “unspecified, inadequate, ‘band-aid’ repairs” in the area rather than legitimate repairs to facilitate connecting and handing over road problems in the city.

A Santa Clara County spokesperson declined a request for comment for this article.

The lawsuit states that mountainous, low-density roadways such as the Shannon Road often do not generate enough public revenue to pay for the services needed to maintain them.

There are settlements and cracks on the road, which can make it unsafe to drive. According to the lawsuit, the county addressed those issues with asphalt patches, edge delineators and traffic signage instead of rebuilding the road.

Issues arose on Shannon Road in 2011, when the County Roads and Airports Department heard reports that the outer shoulder of the road was sliding down the hill. Khoja Wo, a county civil engineer, was asked to investigate.

The VO determined in November 2015 that the road needed to be completely rebuilt with an embankment reinforcement, such as a retaining wall, the lawsuit says. Vo then reported the concerns to the county’s traffic engineer, saying that “no funding was available” for the project.

For the next two years, concerned residents pushed the county to repair the road.

One resident cited in the lawsuit said, “Please address concerns per neighborhood ASAP, before something terrible happens.”

After a storm in 2017 worsened road conditions, project engineer Herbert Narwal requested a further safety assessment. They were told that all departments could continue to pave the road when the cracks were visible and put up warning signs to slow down the traffic.

Meanwhile, the county has contacted Los Gatos city employees about linking the land to Los Gatos. Then-Parks and Public Works Director Matt Morley responded to the county, expressing concern over the necessary repairs to Shannon Road.

Harry Freitas, director of roads and airports, said the county would consider repairing the road before annexation.

“Okay, now I get it. It’s the county initiative. I thought (Los Gatos) wanted annexation. We can take a look at the road and see if we can fix it,” Freitas said in the lawsuit Quoted said in an email.

The county authorized a repair project with GraniteRock Construction that used polymer injection to stabilize the road, which the county performed on January 16, 2018, just before it was officially connected to the ground in Los Gatos .

Repairs included installing 5-foot pipes into the road and filling them with a polymer solution, which the lawsuit alleges was ineffective, citing unsigned Daily Inspection reports that VO requested that GraniteRock’s subcontractor Euretec add more plastic to the ground. are, due to which the tension increases on the road.

County Senior Construction Inspector Steve Wilson signed off on repairs in March 2018 without personally inspecting them, but later visited the road in June 2018 and found significant cracks.

The lawsuit states, “Due to the amalgamation, Mr. Wilson’s findings were relayed to Mr. Jackson and Mr. Freitas, but the information was never disclosed to the city or documented by the Supplemental Final Notice of Inspection.” Was.” The company was asked to build “deep cracks to hide, settle, and pull Euretec’s pipes out of the pavement” on the road.

Los Gatos employees noted peeling pavement nine months after the road was added, and asked the county for assistance in repairing it. The city was reportedly met with pushback and limited information as road conditions continued to deteriorate.

The city hired geotechnical firms NCE and Cal Engineering & Geology to evaluate the road, who determined that a $5.4 million retaining wall was needed to repair the damage.

Another separate section of Shannon Road has also been the subject of controversy. Town staff has been working since 2018 to make sidewalks, bike lanes and street parking roadways between Los Gatos Boulevard and Cherry Blossom Lane safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Some residents of that section were concerned that the proposed changes would detract from the small-town, neighborhood feel of the area.

Leave a Comment