Pipeline replacement to close portions of Temecula Parkway in starting next month

Work crews will begin replacing a recycled water pipeline on westbound Temecula Parkway in November. The timeline for each phase of the project is pictured here. Valley News/City of Temecula courtesy photo

Rancho California Water District crews will begin replacing more than a mile of pipeline under Temecula Parkway in November. 

Staff from the water district updated the Temecula City Council on their plans at the council’s Oct. 13 meeting, where they said the project will result in lane closures on westbound Temecula Parkway from November through the middle of next year.

Jeff Armstrong, general manager of Rancho California Water District, said the pipeline to be replaced is one “that’s had a number of breaks and leaks” in recent years.

“Rancho Water, we’re now like 55 years old, and we’re transitioning from a growing water district, putting in new facilities, to now having to maintain the facilities that we have in place,” Armstrong told the city council.

The project will replace about 8,000 feet, or about a mile and a half, of aging recycled water pipeline between Bedford Court and Rancho Pueblo Road, Jake Wiley, engineering manager for Rancho Water, told the council. The pipeline, which provides irrigation and landscaping water to parks, golf courses, schools and businesses in the area, is more than 20 years old and has begun experiencing corrosion, he said.

“Rancho Water has grown with the community over the years, and (had) really explosive growth in the late 70s and in particular the 80s and 90s when a lot of our infrastructure went in,” Wiley said. “To me, the 80s and 90s don’t seem like terribly long ago, but you’re really talking about pipelines that are 30-40 years old. And while we expect a lot of our pipelines to exceed that useful life, well beyond 50 years … we’re starting to experience some that aren’t.”

According to a presentation shown to the council, construction will begin on phase 1 of the project, between Bedford Court and La Paz Road, in November, followed by phase 2a (La Paz Road to Pechanga Parkway) in December, phase 2b (Pechanga Parkway to Jedediah Smith Road) in January 2021, and phase 3 (Jedediah Smith Road to Rancho Pueblo Road) in February 2021, with construction expected to conclude in May.

During each phase of the project, westbound Temecula Parkway will be reduced to one lane in the given work area, Wiley said. Drivers will be able to get around the project by using Jedediah Smith or La Paz roads to connect to De Portola and Ynez roads during most of the project except for phase one, since traffic will be affected west of La Paz Road during that phase.

The existing pipeline will be replaced with an upgraded stronger material that will be able to better withstand future pipeline breaks, Wiley said.

Rancho Water is taking on the project now, he said, to avoid future unplanned breaks, which he said will only get worse as the pipeline gets older.

“And really, there’s safety concerns, too, you know,” Wiley said. “If you’ve got leaky pipes and you know there’s an issue, you can have problems that you don’t see, undermining of the roadway, sinkholes … really there’s a responsibility that if we know there’s an issue, we need to go in there and take care of it.”

Wiley said the project was put out to bid last year and received a low bid of $6.7 million, which was higher than the district had been anticipating.

After reviewing the project to cut costs, it was put out to bid again in April 2020, and the district was able to cut the final bid amount by $2.3 million to a total project cost of about $4.4 million, Wiley said.

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