The work to replace and realign the San Diego Gas & Electric 72-year-old Pipeline 1600 that runs through Rancho Bernardo and Poway will begin next month and continue in early 2022, mainly along Pomerado Road.
The pipeline from Rainbow to Mission Valley provides transmission of 100 percent of natural gas to the region, according to Kevin O’Beirne, development manager for major projects at SDG & E.
O’Beirne gave the Rancho Bernardo Community Council an update on the project last Thursday. It was his fourth presentation on the subject in recent years to the council.
He said the 80-kilometer gas pipeline was installed in the region in 1949, when most of the current buildings and roads did not exist. As communities were developed, the pipeline ended up being located between homes, apartment buildings and businesses. Amenities were built on it, such as two golf courses at Rancho Bernardo. Consequently, the concessionaire is relocating the line with the installation of new piping with corrosion impediments on community roads, such as Estrada do Pomerado, and will leave the old pipeline in place as soon as it is taken out of service.
“This will be a major safety benefit for the community,” said O’Beirne, adding efforts to test the strength and, when necessary, replace the local SDG & E pipeline that started after the explosion of the San Bruno pipeline in 2010. The explosion in Northern California caused eight deaths and destroyed 38 homes.
The multi-year project was divided into 19 segments, with section 11 being a part of almost 5.9 miles in Rancho Bernardo and Poway. The work in this segment is known as the North Pomerado Replacement Project. Section 12 has just over 3 miles of pipeline in Poway, with the segment called the Pomerado South Replacement Project.
SDG & E’s plan for North Pomerado is to replace the existing line with a new pipeline installed on the Highland Valley and Pomerado roads, the latter between Highland Valley Road and Ted Williams Parkway. The project extends for about 6.5 km in Rancho Bernardo (mainly in the southern bands) and 3 km in Poway (part of the work will be in the northern bands).
According to O’Beirne’s presentation, the plan has two teams working simultaneously. For now, the plan is for them to move from north to south, but that is subject to change, he said. If the plan remains as presented, the first team will start at the top of the Pomerado Road on the Highland Valley Road. The second team will start in the middle of the stretch of the Pomerado Highway, close to its intersection with the Rancho Bernardo Highway.
The main installation of the northern project is provisionally scheduled to run from May 17 to November. Then, the hydrotest, integration and repaving are likely to continue until January or February 2022.
According to O’Beirne, the expected construction schedule will normally be on weekdays between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. Construction is being coordinated with schools to minimize disruption to traffic and school activities, he added.
Construction work zones for installing pipes will typically be about 1,000 feet long and advance about 100 to 200 feet a day, he said. The flow of bidirectional traffic will be maintained at all times. Outside working hours, the trenches will be covered with steel plates and the roads reopened for normal traffic flow. The natural gas service will be maintained for residents and businesses through the use of the existing 1600 Line or temporary bypass tubes, said O’Beirne.
The South Pomerado Replacement Project (Pomerado Road at Ted Williams Parkway through the intersection of Pomerado with Scripps Poway Parkway) should have one team starting work near Ted Williams Parkway and a second team starting near the midpoint around McFeron Road . This segment will alternate between the north and south lanes. His work is scheduled to begin in August.
“Sometimes we move faster than expected, sometimes more slowly,” said O’Beirne.
Locations can obtain updates and project details in both segments on the Project Line 1600 website, sdge.com/psep. The toll-free number to call and get more information is 866-382-0886.
In other municipal businesses:
• The group voted unanimously to send San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and the City Council a letter encouraging the city to offer residents a free Knox Box program. The city program – aimed at businesses – currently provides a way for emergency responders to easily enter a key in a participating home or business. But it requires an installation fee of $ 203 plus a box that starts at $ 438.
“Most of the elderly and people with various disabilities have a fixed income and cannot pay the one-time city tax, let alone the cost of a Knox box,” according to the approved letter.
“Knox boxes allow first responders to make a quick entry, saving valuable time and energy when responding to a situation,” says the letter.
The council noted in its letter that last fall the San Diego County Fire District started offering a free Knox Box program for seniors over 62, for people with disabilities or who need assistance with important life activities, like walking, standing or eating, if they live in certain parts of the county.
• After presentations by American Medical Response and Falck representatives and a lengthy discussion, the council voted to send Marni von Wilpert, District 5 District Council representative, a letter advocating a change in the ambulance provider. AMR is the city’s current firefighter-based ambulance service provider, including Station No. 33 in RB. The city is reviewing its contract with AMR and the fire department has recommended that San Diego award its new contract to Falck.
The board’s discussion revolved around concerns about AMR response times across the city, especially in Rancho Bernardo, and members expressed hope that response times will decrease if Falck wins the municipal contract.