The undergrounding of utility lines not only enhances coastal vistas for the neighborhood’s residents and visitors, it also lessens the threat of power outages, improves public safety, and saves time and money for city services in the long run, said officials.
District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner and representatives from SDG&E, AT&T and Time Warner Cable commemorated the removal of a utility pole near the intersection of Draper Avenue and Genter Street — one of the last poles left standing in the neighborhood — on May 24.
The pole removal marks the near completion of an $8.1 million utilities project that undergrounded 1.43 miles of utility lines, installed 30 new street lights, constructed 39 pedestrian ramps and planted 60 new trees in the area known as “Project Block 1F La Jolla.”
“This is one of many beautification projects taking place throughout Council District 1, and I am proud to celebrate this accomplishment as well as recognize the dedicated public works professionals who helped to make it happen,” Lightner said. “We’ve all been anticipating a time when the overhead utility lines would be moved underground, and it’s wonderful to see the removal of one of the last utility poles for the project.”
The milestone achievement was completed just in time for National Public Works Week, which celebrates the tens of thousands of men and women in America who provide and maintain public infrastructure and services.
“Public works is important to community life, and we can certainly attest to that today as we celebrate our own neighborhood accomplishment,” said Lightner. “We would not be here without the hard work and dedication of the project team and partnership with the La Jolla community — and I say that in terms of patience.”
Ignacio De La Torre, AT&T’s regional vice president of external affairs, said the neighborhood’s support through this arduous endeavor meant everything to the utility companies’ success.
“It’s not easy to be told that we’re going to come in and dig up your neighborhoods,” he said. “Most of all, I want to thank the community for putting up with us.”
The more than four-year undergrounding project involved several phases, including paneling and trenching, cabling, cutover and streetlight installation, utility line and pole removal, tree planting, and street resurfacing.
The project is just one of many in the city’s $54 million-per-year plan to replace overhead power and communication lines with safer and more reliable underground systems. San Diego is undergrounding 30 to 35 miles of overhead utility lines each year through the Utilities Undergrounding Program. For more information, visit www.sandiego.gov/undergrounding or call (619) 533-3841.