PG&E operates several gas transmission pipelines in Watsonville and for the past 6 years it has been performing tests on these pipelines to assess their condition in order to ensure operational safety. Based on the testing PG&E has come up with a plan to improve the safety of the gas transmission lines by replacing some of the old lines and relocating and retiring other poorly located gas lines.
The first project which is scheduled to start May 21 will replace the gas line on Walker Street between Front Street and Ford Street. This work will have several components:
- The first portion of work will be construction of a new gas line by trenching which will run from West Lake Avenue to Ford Street.
- The other component of work, which will start next week, will be fabrication of long segments of pipe on a portion of the Harkins Slough Bridge which PG&E will occupy and stage work on.
- The third component of work will be installing a new gas pipeline by directional drilling between Front Street and West Lake Avenue. A drilling machine will be deployed at Walker Street at Front and drill a 12” bore hole from Front Street to West Lake Avenue where the hole will emerge from the surface. The long segments of fabricated pipe will be connected and the pipe assembly will be inserted into the drilled hole. Drilling was selected for this portion of pipeline because of the difficulty of working near the railroad tracks on Walker Street.
The work on Walker Street is expected to require 3 months to complete. PG&E will work at night, 8:30 PM to 6:30 AM, Sunday through Friday. This is a 10 hour, 6 days a week work schedule designed to get the project completed as soon as possible. Two lanes of traffic and the sidewalk on Harkins Slough Bridge will be open during the pipe fabrication work. Walker Street between West Lake Avenue and Ford Street will be closed during the nighttime trenching gas line installation. Detours will be implemented to route the public around the work.
The other PG&E gas transmission pipeline project will replace the gas main starting at Ramsay Park and running to Pennsylvania Avenue to Green Valley Road and to Lawrence Avenue is scheduled to start in about a month. More details about this project will be provided as plans and permitting become finalized.