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Santa Maria OKs Contract Marking 1st Step Toward New Landfill at Los Flores Ranch

J.F. Will Co. wins bid for improvements east of Highway 101 at Exit 161 south of Santa Maria

A sign for Los Flores Ranch near Exit 161 off Highway 101 describes the site’s role with the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department along with the Utilities Department. While the site is used for recreation, some acreage will become home to Santa Maria’s new landfill. Click to view larger
A sign for Los Flores Ranch near Exit 161 off Highway 101 describes the site’s role with the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department along with the Utilities Department. While the site is used for recreation, some acreage will become home to Santa Maria’s new landfill. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A small project to enhance the roadway near the Los Flores Ranch interchange on Highway 101 signaled a big initial step toward the opening for Santa Maria’s new landfill.

The City Council recently awarded a contract to The J.F. Will Co. for a project near the Solomon Summit interchange at Exit 161 south of Santa Maria.

The city acquired the Los Flores Ranch land years ago for the new Integrated Waste Management Facility along with a recreational area, known as Los Flores Ranch Park.

The new landfill is expected to begin operating and receiving garbage within five years, and would be accessed by trash trucks using the Los Flores interchange, 7 miles south of Santa Maria, the city staff said.

“This project is the first phase of construction for the new IWMF and will reconstruct and enhance the roadway from the interchange to the proposed future access point into the Los Flores property,” city staff said in a report to the council.

The project calls for significant earthwork, roadway improvements on the eastside of the highway and erosion control facilities, along with construction of the first leg of the entry road to the landfill.

Two new access gates also will be built.

This is just one step toward getting the new landfill ready for accepting trash, city staff said. Future projects include a joint pavement project with the city and Caltrans, and phased construction of the future landfill, including onsite roads and facilities such as scales and a scale house.

Seven firms submitted bids for the project’s first phase with Santa Maria-based J.F. Will Co. as the lowest at $1,158,386.

Work under the contract is expected to be completed in 120 days.

Funding for this project — expected to cost up to $1.5 million — will come from the city’s solid waste disposal fund.

While landfill access would occur via the Highway 101 interchange, park access for most users is off Dominion Road.

During construction, city officials said the southern access to the Los Flores property, including an equestrian area, will be closed to the public.

Los Flores Ranch, 1,778 acres in the Solomon Hills, was acquired more than a decade ago as a future home of a new landfill while other acreage houses a park for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Landfill operations would sit on 617 acres with waste disposal expected for 286 acres over a 90-year lifespan.

City leaders began prepping for future landfill needs after the existing facility on West Main Street began nearing its capacity, completing environmental review and permitting steps. The current landfill would be used as a transfer station to accept refuse from local residents while the new facility also is prepared to accept trash after the closure of the Tajiguas Landfill on the Gaviota coast west of Goleta.

The new landfill will provide an ongoing revenue stream for the the city while also serving the city and neighboring communities for decades, officials say.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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