STOCKTON (CBS13) — Afer homeless people are found digging into the levee system in Sacramento, another dangerous trench was discovered, but this one is along Interstate 5 in San Joaquin County.
Last week, a CBS13 viewer told us about people digging into the levees in Sacramento, and now we have been told it’s also happening in San Joaquin County.
A 15-foot-long trench has been dug into the side of a levee supporting Interstate 5.
“Don’t dig in the levee,” Deby Provost called out to a woman who was cutting away the levee, trying to flatten an area.
The levee is at Smith’s Canal.
“It’s not for digging in, it’s not for putting garbage in, it’s not for any of this here,” Provost said.
Provost is fed up. She’s a trustee for Reclamation 828, which maintains part of the levees in Stockton, and a she’s a homeowner.
“I’ve seen a gopher hole turn an entire town…into water in Manteca,” Provost said, pointing out how the levee is higher than her home. “As you can imagine, the water comes up here and I’m underwater.”
According to Skip Allum with Caltrans, it’s illegal to camp in this spot.
“Any time anyone is camping or living on state right of way, that’s trespassing,” Allum said.
Caltrans is responsible for the maintenance of the area but doesn’t have the authority to move people, which is why once a month CHP clears out the campers.
“There’s no guarantee how long our efforts are going to be fruitful,” he said.
But they just come back.
Last year, Caltrans inspected the Interstate 5 bridge over Smith Canal and found it was intact with no damage to the structure.
“If there was any damage to it we would close down I-5 and begin that repair work,” Allum said.
Provost says the damage is only getting worse and wants something to be done.
“I am upset that it’s not fixed; it should’ve been fixed many moons ago,” she said. “Maybe statewide we can come up with a solution for the levees; they are in trouble.”
Caltrans says it has been working with both reclamation districts on a solution, but so far, no work has been scheduled.