The next phase of the Lower Mission Creek Flood Control Project is moving forward with the award of a contract for final channel design from Cabrillo Boulevard to Cannon Perdido Street. Tetra Tech Inc. has been selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to design the project.

The contract was awarded last August, and completed design plans are expected this August. The total contract amount is $845,333, with $600,000 of the funding coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Currently, funds for construction have not been secured; however, the Santa Barbara Flood Control District and the city of Santa Barbara are working with federal officials and congressional representatives for partial funding of the project.

Last year, the first construction phase of the project was completed when a massive concrete box culvert was built under the Union Pacific train tracks near the Santa Barbara Train Depot at a cost of $1.3 million. The project was completed by Santa Barbara County, in cooperation with the city of Santa Barbara and Union Pacific.

The Lower Mission Creek Flood Control Project is located along Mission Creek in the city of Santa Barbara from Canon Perdido Street to Cabrillo Boulevard at the ocean, a distance of about 1.3 miles, and is being constructed over several years as additional funding becomes available.

When complete, the creek channel will be widened to increase its flow capacity. Redesign of the channel is intended to minimize catastrophic flooding and potential property damage along Mission Creek as occurred in 1995 and 2005. The mulitipurpose project will enhance flood protection, help protect endangered species and riparian habitats and promote recreational opportunities for the city.

— Patrick Kelly is the deputy director of the Engineering Division of the city of Santa Barbara Public Works Department.