SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Officials say the cost of dealing with last year’s near-disaster at the nation’s tallest dam in California have climbed to more than $1 billion. The state Department of Water Resources said Wednesday construction costs and related expenses are driving the increase at Oroville Dam. Department spokeswoman Erin Mellon says more workers were recently hired to get the repairs done by the expected onset of wet weather beginning Nov. 1. The department said in January the project would cost $870 million. Both spillways at the 770-foot earthen dam collapsed in February 2017, forcing nearly 200,000 people downstream to evacuate. Uncontrolled and massive releases of water did not occur and residents were allowed to return home within days.