Slope repair project zooms through council

Officials award contract, bypassing normal bidding procedures, because of looming threat to sewer main in Bluebird Canyon.

October 06, 2011|By Barbara Diamond

The city will bypass normal procedures in order to rush repairs on an unstable, eroded slope on Bluebird Canyon Drive that poses a threat to the sewer below.

City officials on Tuesday awarded a design/build contract for the repairs without putting the project out to bid, and directed the city manager to implement the project before mid-December, if possible. This includes authorization to issue permits and apply for permits.

"We have been working feverishly on this," said David Shissler, the city's director of water quality.

The staff is of the opinion that the immediate threat to the sewer main in the 1200 block of Bluebird Canyon Drive was caused by the December rains.


The resulting erosion and slope instability constitutes an emergency, exempting the project from the usual noticing and bidding requirements for public works contracts. A break in the sewer could spew sewage into the nearby riparian area and make its way to the ocean, according to the staff report.

Immediate expenditure of public money is allowed by law to safeguard life, health or property. It requires at least a four-fifths vote of the City Council.

The contract was awarded Tuesday to J.R. Filanc. The company is contracted to design and build the project at a cost not to exceed $295,000.

City staff has tied the erosion to the December storms. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency agrees, the city will be reimbursed for the costs of the project.

If FEMA balks, the funding will likely come out of the city's Disaster Relief Fund.

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