More than $63 million approved in Carlsbad water projects

CARLSBAD — By the time the next rain season rolls around, Carlsbad Village will be better equipped to handle rainwater.

The City Council approved a $1.64 million contract to Palm Engineering and Construction of San Diego to begin a major drainage improvement project along Grand Avenue at a meeting Tuesday.

Grand Avenue’s current drainage is outdated and often floods after a big storm, according to Associate Engineer Sherri Howard.

She said without any unforeseen obstacles, the project should be done by October.

“The Grand Avenue project is a special challenge because it anchors one of the busiest commercial streets in the city, hosting many events,” said Howard. “There’s no convenient time to open up the streets and lay new pipe, but we will do our best to minimize the disruption.”

No parking will be allowed at the locations where construction is under way.

One lane in each direction must be kept open at all times and access to businesses must also remain open.

Construction crews will begin at the alley between the railroad tracks and State Street and work east on Grand Avenue.

City staff decided to get more “bang for the buck” in the words of Councilwoman Lorraine Wood by combining multiple projects.

Crews will also install a new conduit for electrical lines, which would allow for electricity.

After talking to local businesses, planners from Urban Place found that owners want decorative trees, which require electricity.

The conduits will make that possible.

Crews will also replace old water main valves, bring old streetlight poles up to modern standards and install fiber-optic cable.

Funding comes from the city of Carlsbad General Fund, State of California Gas Tax Funds, the street lighting district assessment fund and Carlsbad Municipal Water District replacement funds.

The council also approved a $61.5 million project to replace the Agua Hedionda Lift Station, which manages wastewater and the Vista/Carlsbad Interceptor Sewer.

According to Senior Engineer Terry Smith, the 50-year-old pumps are beyond repair and need to be completely replaced.

Vista will pay for $36.7 million of the sewer facilities and Carlsbad will pay $20 million.

As part of the project, 11,000 feet of recycled water pipeline will be installed from the Encina Water Pollution Carlsbad facility in southern Carlsbad to the Agua Hedionda Lift Station at a cost of $4.8 million.

In order to keep lanes open during construction, crews will install the pipeline down the middle of the road, allowing for traffic on either side, said Smith.

Crews will also micro-tunnel to minimize impact.

The Carlsbad Energy Center LLC, will pay for $1 million of pipe installation because staff asked to extend the pipeline to the site of the future power plant, which is adjacent to the current one.

The power plant is in the process of getting licensed by the California Energy Commission. It’s scheduled to be built by 2020.

Smith expects the lift station and pipeline installation project to be done by summer 2017.

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