Team 10: Woman says water project is ruining her neighborhood

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego woman contacted Team 10 over a water project she said is ruining her neighborhood.

She said she's had to deal with the equipment, noise and dust for an entire year.

"Nobody can park all the way up the street here," said Lynn Little.

The city is replacing the water mains in the Clairemont Mesa/Bay Ho area of Ecochee Avenue, Moraga Avenue, Moraga Place, Kenosha Avenue and Paducah Avenue.

"This is their storage shed, down here you see the street signs they are storing, right here you see the big blue pipe so they pick up the pipe with the big machines and dump them into the truck boom clatter, clatter at 7 in the morning," said Little.

Little said the area in front of her home has been a construction yard for two months as the city replaces the water mains in front of hundreds of homes.

"Is this going to go on forever," asked Little.

The project will go on until May 2016.

Little asked the city if they could move the equipment to a city yard a mile away or move it down to be stationed in front of an area on her street where there are no homes.

Little said it would give her peace of mind and the two parking spots it currently takes up.

"I would ask a question and they would just give me some line that had nothing to do with the question I asked," said Little.

Little and another neighbor who didn't want to be identified said the city has flushed out the pipes at least 20 times in two months.

"We're watching this water shoot down the street, it's very disturbing," said Little.

Little  knows the project is needed, she just doesn't know why they need to use her street to store it all.

"Seems unfair, seems like we should spread the pain a little bit. We've done our part and now it's someone else's turn," said Little.

A city of San Diego public information officer sent us this statment by email:

This is a Capital Improvements Program (CIP) project which will improve the service life and reliability of the water mains in this neighborhood. The Mayor and Council support these infrastructure improvement projects and the CIP exists as a long-term plan to improve the streets, parks, neighborhoods and City facilities for all who live and visit San Diego.

Water Group Job 962 will replace about a 1.5 miles of old cast-iron and asbestos-cement water mains in the Clairemont Community Planning Area installed in the 1950s. The pipes are being replaced with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes which have a longer service life and better reliability than the previous materials . The streets included in this project are Moraga Avenue, Paducah Drive, Southview Drive, Moraga Place, Elsinore Place and Kenosha Avenue.

This project started in June 2015 and has a total of 135 working days at a construction cost of $2.149 million. The contractor is PK Mechanical. The contract is available in its entirety at this link http://www.sandiego.gov/cip/reports/constructioncontractsfy15.html

These projects require the materials to be at the site or readily available nearby, so that the work can progress quickly and efficiently. For all projects similar in scope, the contractor and City staff survey the alignment of the project and scout for locations to store equipment and materials. When assessing the viability of staging areas for each project, the  traffic flow, street width, residential versus business districts, schools or daycare centers, proximity to freeway ramps, and empty lots or areas where items can be stored are considered. There are occasions when there are privately-owned empty lots available that the contractor can lease for use during a project. However, in this case, there were no open spaces near the affected streets. In addition to designating a staging area for materials such as signs, small containers and barricades, the alignment of the project is used for storage of heavy equipment, pipe and dirt (see attached photo of Kenosha Place). These items cannot be moved to and from the site every day. They remain onsite for efficiency of installation.

It’s not uncommon to store pipes on City streets (in the City right-of-way), as part of a water or sewer main replacement project. This property is owned by the City and is available for our use. However, there are some restrictions. For example,  the City is not allowed to store materials or pipe on property used for recreation such as a public park. That includes the parking lots for public parks.

The City understands that the community may be inconvenienced by the dust, noise and traffic detours on projects, and all feasible and required measures are taken to mitigate the impacts to the community . These infrastructure improvements are well-worth the short term inconveniences because of the benefits they provide. City staff and the contractor work diligently to minimize the disruption to residents, however some impacts are unavoidable.

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