The city defines these types of projects as “group jobs,” as they schedule many of these water and sewer replacement projects at the same time. Their logic here is that they are minimizing community intrusion, and are jointly coordinated by the city’s Public Utilities and Public Works Departments.
Vic Salazar, community liaison for the city, represents the La Jolla Scenic Drive and Water and Sewer Group Job 814, which is ongoing in Mission and Pacific beaches. Salazar’s office notified La Jolla Village News that: “The bulk of Group Job 814’s work is completed. The pipe installation is completed, and the contractor is currently working to finish the trench cap and concrete paving in the alleys along Mission Boulevard.”
At the Jan. 5 meeting of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, Salazar informed those present where the city stood on the La Jolla Scenic Drive pipeline project. He stated that this construction would take roughly a year, and will be a phased project.
“As it is still in the design phase, the number of phases, as well as schedule, are yet to be finalized,” said Salazar. “This project is outside the summer construction moratorium zone for beach areas, however.”
The La Jolla Scenic Drive pipeline project’s planning, design, and construction budget is currently set at $9.84 million, but it is noted that this construction schedule and project budget are always subject to change. In addition to replacing the 0.26 miles of existing water sewer mains and four miles of pipeline, the city’s project overview entails: “Installing curb ramps that provide better access to those with disabilities, supporting the City’s sustainability and climate action goals (reducing their carbon footprint), and the relocation of an existing water pressure regulating station that will help meet fire-flow requirements.”
Salazar stated that they will also be utilizing best management practices for erosion, which will include minimally-invasive Inlet protection, the use of visqueen (a durable polyethylene sheeting), as well as sandbags and straw wattles (composed of organic material).
Projects like these, albeit necessary, often breed a variety of mixed opinion throughout the area. Back in 2012, a utility crew was digging along the side of La Jolla Scenic Drive and accidentally broke an 8-inch-diameter line near Soledad Mountain Road. Though no homes or businesses were left without water, it adversely impacted a section of the City’s pipeline that needed replacing. This is solely one example of a pipe bursting throughout La Jolla, indefinitely seen in the Shores, and other high-traffic areas as well.
According to the City of San Diego’s website, “When water mains are replaced in a neighborhood, a section of the water system covering several blocks is cut off and plugged up so the mains can be replaced. It may take several months to finish an entire section, so all customers will receive their water from high lines. Once each section is installed, a ‘cold mix’ of asphalt and gravel is used for the temporary backfill, and sole asphalt is used to finally resurface the area when completed.”
After all the new mains have been replaced, they are pressure tested and sanitized by the performing contractor. Also, they are tested for purity by the city’s Water Quality Lab.
Salazar noted that if they foresaw any night construction (which they don’t presently), residents would be notified via “door-hanger notices.”
“La Jolla residents appreciate being informed about construction activity in their neighborhoods,” Salazar noted. “Residents can sign up for project updates by going to www.sandiego.gov/cip, enter their email address and choose ‘La Jolla Scenic Drive pipeline project.’ Also, because the aging infrastructure is in need of replacement, we have not seen any resistance in the community.”