HBunder0621 (ran 6-21-01)

Project to bury utility lines set for completion in the fall

by Robb Fulcher

A lengthy project to remove unsightly overhead utility lines and bury them under the pavement in a Loma Drive neighborhood should be finished by mid-September, city officials said. Officials previously predicted that the somewhat cumbersome project would be completed by July.

Another "undergrounding" project in a neighborhood along Myrtle Avenue is nearing an earlier completion.

The projects were begun after a total of about 400 residents in the two neighborhoods voted to assess themselves about $8,500 apiece to have their electricity, cable TV and telephone lines buried.

The assessments total $1.8 million for a neighborhood along Loma from Pier Avenue to Sixth Street, and $1.6 million for a neighborhood along Myrtle in the area of 24th and 26th streets.

Workers late last year completed the projects’ first major phase, digging trenches in the streets and repairing the damage caused by the digging, then they began running utility lines through the underground conduits.

Verizon telephone lines and Adelphia cable TV lines have yet to be laid down in parts of the Loma neighborhood, according to a report by Hermosa Beach Public Works Director Harold Williams.

In addition, 17 homes within the Loma neighborhood are not yet properly hooked up to the underground conduits, Williams wrote. Nevertheless, completion of the Loma project is expected in September.

All of the residents in the Myrtle neighborhood have modified their utility hookups to accommodate the underground system. This week workers for the telephone company were out removing overhead lines, City Manager Steve Burrell said.

Months ago city council members expressed some impatience with the projects which, Burrell said, had been slowed in part by personnel changes at Edison.

The assessments to pay for the work, which residents can take 20 years to pay off, were approved by neighborhood ballots that were weighted, based on the frontage of each resident’s property.

Myrtle neighbors voted 116 to 36 to approve the assessment. Weighted for the value of their individual assessments, the Myrtle project was approved by neighbors with $1.01 million assessed value versus neighbors with $318,000.

Loma neighbors voted 91 to 59 to approve the assessment, reflecting a weighted vote of $734,700 in assessed value to $487,800.

In a previously completed project, utility lines were buried along Beach Drive from the city’s southern line to Pier Avenue and up the courts to Hermosa Avenue, where only a couple of utility poles are still standing. That project was begun about three years ago.

Another burying project has long been approved for Pier Avenue from Hermosa Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway. A number of businesses have yet to be hooked up to their underground utility connections, but when that has been done the lines can be buried, city officials said. ER