Diving into the 30th Street Pipeline Project

Posted: September 21st, 2018 | Featured, News | No Comments

Sara Butler | Editor

Some Uptown residents – specifically in North Park, South Park and Golden Hill – may face upcoming water outages in their neighborhoods, as well as a few detours.

The 30th Street Pipeline Replacement Project, which will replace nearly 6 miles of water main, is currently underway. The proposed water pipes will run along 30th and Fern streets, starting at Polk Avenue to the north and Commercial Street to the south. There will also be a few shorter segments on side streets, and one current water pipe will be abandoned on Ray Street in North Park.

This replacement and rehabilitation of the aging pipes and mains brings them up to current city standards, which will help avoid water main breaks or other service disruptions in the future.

Clem Wassenberg, 30th Street Pipeline construction manager, spoke to the public at the North Park Planning Committee’s Public Facilities and Transportation Subcommittee on Sept. 12. The city has partnered with Rick Engineering Company, represented by Nick Dorner at the meeting.

Construction started about four months ago and is scheduled through July 2020. The overall budget for the planning, design and construction is $28.7 million, but both the timeline and budget are subject to change.

Project alignment is from 30th Street starting at Polk Avenue moving south to Juniper Street. The project then shifts at the intersection of Juniper Street and 30th Street on to Fern Street until A Street. At A Street, the project shifts back onto 30th Street and continues south to Commercial Street. (Map courtesy of 30th Street Pipeline Replacement Team)

Currently, construction crews are working on potholing in the North Park neighborhood while the project waits on approval of the pipe design.

“Potholing essentially is excavating all the utilities — electric, gas, phone lines, cable  — to make sure there is no conflict [with our proposed plan],” Wassenberg explained.

Upon approval, the pipe will be manufactured, and crews will begin installing the pipeline starting in spring 2019. Banuelos said it is hard to say how long the construction of each segment would take, as the production rate depends on the diameter of the pipe.

“If I was to give you a finishing date, I’d probably be making it up,” Wassenberg said, citing that many factors other than pipeline diameter may affect the timeline, such as rain.

In residential neighborhoods, construction is planned for weekdays from 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m. but may shift times due to rush hour. These daytime hours intend to not impact residents during the night.

But in the pipeline sections that are primarily home to restaurants, shops and other businesses, construction teams will work during night hours to not affect day-to-day traffic or operations. Shorter night shifts are planned for on Sunday through Wednesday. This schedule was a request from the impacted businesses, which tend to be busier Thursday through Saturday.

For any scheduled water outages, all affected individuals will receive notice with a letter as well as a door-hanging three to five days prior. The city will install a 2-foot diameter pipe in the gutter to provide a temporary water supply for construction segments that are anticipated to be impacted for a longer period of time.

Wassenberg said if residents or business owners encounter any immediate issues with the construction — such as a truck blocking a driveway — they are encouraged to ask any worker to speak directly with the residential engineer, who will be on-site.

Each segment will cause full or partial road closures and result in detours. The project leads are also in contact with Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), and if a bus stop will be impacted, the MTS stops will be moved or rerouted. Information notices will be placed on the stop, as well as included in the monthly email newsletter that the project team will send out to individuals signed up online.

Some residents were concerned about the condition of the streets after the project is completed. Wassenberg said at the end of the project, the team will resurface the streets and “restore the streets at least to the same conditions as before – or better.”

A temporary coating, which he admitted will be bumpy, will be placed while they complete required pressure testing. Once that testing has been completed, a “finishing cap with a smooth layer” will be added to resurface the streets. All forms of transportation, including bikes, will be considered during the process.

“If there are any sections that you see that the contractors have left that are not bikeable, bring it our attention and we’ll get it fixed,” Wassenberg said.

“We don’t mean to put our work on you, but we’d appreciate it if you made us aware of those situations,” he continued.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for the 30th Street Pipeline Replacement Project’s email distribution list at to receive updates. For additional questions about the project, call 619-533-4207 or email

—Reach Sara Butler at

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