EMWD Mountain Avenue Replenishment Basin project proceeding well

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A flagger on Esplanade Avenue, just west of the Ramona Expressway, halts traffic as heavy trucks carrying dirt from the Eastern Municipal Water District Mountain Avenue West Replenishment Basin Project excavation exit to carry their loads to the Soboba Indian Reservation. Valley News/Tony Ault photo

While between 22 and 26 double tractor trailer trucks filled with dirt are entering and exiting Esplanade Avenue and the Ramona Expressway in San Jacinto since the new year, daily traffic tie-ups have been minimal according to Eastern Municipal Water District and city officials.

The heavy truck traffic coming out of the Mountain Avenue West Replenishment Basin project is being controlled by a flagger stopping westbound traffic on Ramona Expressway just a block from the Expressway few cars have been seen making U-turns to avoid the backup in the afternoons.

The EMWD Replenishment Basin Project is designed to capture stormwater and allow it to drain into the Aquifer below ground to be extracted during droughts or as needed for San Jacinto Valley residents.

A flagger on Esplanade Avenue, just west of the Ramona Expressway, halts traffic as heavy trucks carrying dirt from the Eastern Municipal Water District Mountain Avenue West Replenishment Basin Project excavation exit to carry their loads to the Soboba Indian Reservation. Valley News/Tony Ault photo

EMWD public information officer Kevin Pearson explained how the project is proceeding with an engineer’s progress report expected.

“Our current permitted hours of operation are between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., however the hauling off-site is typically completed by 3:15 p.m. each day. There is a street sweeper on-site that is continuously operating on the haul route on Esplanade and portions of Mountain Avenue, and that street sweeping is usually completed by 4 p.m. each day, well after the trucks have done their last haul,” Pearson said. “Our contractor is operating between 22-26 trucks per day, with 350-400 round trip exports total. The contractor is on schedule and we anticipate the hauling activities to be completed near the end of April.

“The safety of our staff, contractor and the community is of the utmost importance, and EMWD worked closely with the city to determine a hauling route that prioritized safety while also providing the least impact to our neighbors and motorists. We have also worked to communicate the status of the construction activities with the community and will continue to do so.

“Our contractor has a flag man on Esplanade at the exit point from the property and traffic is stopped to let the trucks out of the site so they may turn easterly on Esplanade safely. At most, the flag man will allow three trucks to exit during a traffic stoppage, but that figure is typically one or two trucks. Even with three trucks leaving the site at once, there should be a delay of no more than about 30 seconds for motorists. Some motorists may notice a delay because of the street sweeper, but we want to make sure we are keeping the surrounding roads clean while our hauling activities are taking place,” Pearson said.

EMWD and the city have reached an agreement for reimbursement of costs related to the paving of Mountain Avenue from hauling activities. That agreement is for up to $111,714.

“EMWD sincerely appreciates the patience of the community during this project and we know that the safety of everyone on the roads is a collaborative effort by all involved,” Pearson said.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.