Great news, a win for the canyon, finally. Council District 11 reports that the DWP has reconsidered the Sylmar Ground Return Project and after further study, urged by Councilman Bonin and DWP Board President Mel Levine, the new DWP General Manager, Marcie Edwards, has directed that existing conduit be used to install replacement cable without the necessity for new trenching. The existing trenching goes from Sunset in Brentwood to Gladstones via Sunset Blvd.
This project was originally proposed to trench from Sunset in Brentwood, to San Vicente, to 7th street and finally down Entrada to West Channel to the ocean. The leadership and boards of BOCA and SMCCA were gravely concerned about the impact of this proposed project, and wrote numerous letters during the EIR process. The disruption would have would have been widespread and long-term, and would have been very damaging to the businesses and the quality of life in our canyon.
BOCA extends a very warm thanks to Councilman Mike Bonin for his outstanding leadership in reaching out to DWP and persuading them to rethink the project.
Here is the notice from Councilman Bonin's office:
Councilman Bonin is delighted to share that DWP has reconsidered the Sylmar Ground Return Project which was planned to require trenching on Sunset, San Vicente, Santa Monica Canyon, Gretna Green, and the area around Kenter Elementary, to install new cable. After further study, urged by Councilman Bonin and DWP Board President Mel Levine, new DWP GM Marcie Edwards directed that existing conduit be used to install replacement cable without the necessity for new trenching. This is a huge reduction in impact for the community and users of these well traveled roadways - and the Councilman expresses his appreciation to DWP's new leadership team for their responsiveness and willingness to rethink the project.
Here is the official updated information from DWP:
SYLMAR GROUND RETURN SYSTEM PROJECT UPDATE
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is proposing to replace the existing underground and marine electrical cables and the existing marine electrode portions of the Sylmar Ground Return System (SGRS). SGRS is needed to maintain the reliability and stability of the power generation and delivery system for Southern California continue to meet current and projected demand for power, and help increase the available share of renewable resource energy. The existing SGRS is an integral component of the Pacific Direct Current Intertie Transmission Line (PDCI), which has a capacity of 3,100 megawatts (enough to serve up to three million Southern California households), and transmits bulk power between Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest. The PDCI is a direct current (DC) system, and it cannot operate without a ground return system.
Originally, the LADWP proposed constructing a new conduit and maintenance vault system which was indicated in a draft environmental impact report (DEIR) issued for circulation on May 15, 2014. Recently, LADWP completed a study that considers utilizing existing infrastructure, thereby lowering the cost of the project, and greatly reducing the impacts to the surrounding communities as the streets will not be excavated. Replacement cables will be routed from Kenter Canyon Terminal Tower to the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Blvd. In addition, the project will utilize the existing origination point of the marine cables.
The eight-mile cable replacement for the land portion for this project is expected to occur in summer 2016. Work will be conducted in various locations along the alignment of the project for approximately eight months. No street closures are anticipated; however, some lane closures will occur at various times during the construction.
The project environmental impact report will address this change in the proposed project approach. In addition, LADWP continues to evaluate the scope of work needed for the marine segment of the project.
LADWP thanks the local communities for their patience. We will continue to inform the communities of construction progress and issue traffic advisories as needed throughout the project.
For further information, please visit www.ladwp.com/SylmarGroundReturnProject. You may also direct questions to SylmarGroundReturnProject@ladwp.com.