City approves agreement with water district for use of utility lines moved during interchange project

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The Temecula City Council approved a joint use agreement with Rancho California Water District, Feb. 25, for use of water lines that had to be relocated onto city-owned property as a result of the Temecula Parkway/Interstate 15 interchange project.

The agreement was on the council’s consent calendar, meaning it was approved without discussion.

In 2005, the city purchased land south of Temecula Parkway and west of I-15 in anticipation of the future construction of new freeway interchange ramps at that junction, a project that was ultimately completed in 2019. An Arco gas station that previously existed at the site had to be demolished to make way for new ramps.

The property included several utility easements granted to Rancho California Water District for 18-inch, 30-inch and 42-inch water lines, according to a city staff report.

During construction of the new Temecula Parkway interchange ramps, the utility lines were relocated to portions of Temecula Parkway and Old Town Front Street, moving them from private to public property.

“Since these facilities are relocated from a position of private utility easement into the public right of way, the (joint use agreement) is designed to preserve RCWD’s prior rights to the extent feasible,” according to city staff.

The water district’s preexisting and new easement rights will be cleared up through several means including quitclaims, new easements and joint use agreements, according to staff.

The joint use agreement that was approved Feb. 25 was drafted jointly by staff and legal counsel from the city and water district.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.