UPDATED: Avram Ave. marks start of RP sewer project
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By Jud Snyder  November 1, 2013 12:00 am

It has the rather innocuous label of East Side Trunk Sewer Phase 2. It’s probably the largest sewer pipeline project the city has taken on in the past 20 or more years, aside from the pipeline from the city to the regional wastewater treatment plant on Llano Road. But this sewer pipe was across rural areas and pastures to the west of city limits. This new one will be constructed in the heart of the city.

The project begins at the intersection of Commerce Boulevard and Avram Avenue, continuing east on Avram Avenue, then east on Santa Alicia Drive to Seed Farm Drive. The pipeline continues south on Seed Farm Drive, diverts under the SMART railroad tracks and continues east on Southwest Boulevard to Snyder Lane. The pipeline goes south on Snyder Lane and ties into the existing sewer system in the intersection of East Cotati Avenue and Snyder Lane.

 “No parking” signs will be posted in affected areas along the construction route.   There will be traffic and pedestrian control measures in place during construction. While lane closures and detours should be expected during the work, access will be provided to residents and businesses. 

The first phase of construction will be digging “potholes” on Avram to determine where existing pipelines already are. Ghilotti Construction, the Santa Rosa firm doing the work, doesn’t want its excavating equipment damaging older pipelines. This work will start later this month, Nov. 18, said Patrick Barnes, deputy city engineer.

The East Side Trunk Sewer Phase 2 was approved by Sonoma County public works in 2006, and Barnes has been working on preliminaries for it on paper since then. It started out as a 27-inch pipe, but this has been scaled back to 24-inch pipes. A draft Mitigated Negative Declaration was approved in 2006.

Ghilotti came in with the lowest bid at $8,282,705. The pre-bid estimate was $9,300,000. 

The project is so large the city authorized hiring GHD Consulting Engineers of Santa Rosa for engineering design services for Ghilotti and also taking on liaison duties with the city council and setting up a public outreach program to inform businesses and residents on the project’s progress. Cost of GHD’s services is $845,900. Funding for the project comes from the Public Facility Finance fees, i.e., sewer taxes.

“More than a few of our sewer pipelines on the eastern side of the city are working at near-capacity or over-capacity,” Barnes  added. “Additional housing developments, besides University District, are planned including Southeast and Northeast specific plans and Sonoma Mountain Village, at future dates. It’s best to be prepared ahead of time.”

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