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Renovations planned for South Laguna tunnel and pipeline project

South Coast Water District offers changes after residents raised concerns about traffic and noise.

December 06, 2013|By Bryce Alderton

The South Coast Water District plans to present revisions to a proposed project that would shore up a two-mile underground tunnel and replace an aging sewer pipeline in South Laguna.

City planning commissioners will review the changes to the estimated $80-million project when they meet next week.

Concerned about the possibility of traffic and construction-related noise, residents called for changes to how the work would be implemented during an October Planning Commission meeting.

Those requests were taken into considerations when the proposed changes were drafted, district spokesman Steve Greyshock said.

The district has proposed a 15,000-square-foot staging area at Fourth Avenue and South Coast Highway that would provide an area for work-related vehicles to come and go.

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To mitigate possible noise, the proposal calls for the three sides of the staging area that face houses to have 12-foot-tall sound walls, except for a 10-foot sliding gate for vehicles to enter and exit along Fourth, Greyshock said.

"There was a section of the sound wall abutting Virginia Way that was proposed at 10 feet, but the district has amended the plan to build that section up to 12 feet in response to its dialogue with residents," Greyshock said in an email.

A portion of the side facing Virginia Way would have 12-foot-tall beams, but the sound wall would be only 10 feet, Greyshock said.

The district will conduct noise surveys once construction begins — twice in the first month and once each in the second and fourth months, according to a November district letter to commissioners and Community Development Director John Montgomery.

"The sound wall is modular, so if the sound retention goals can be achieved at a lower height, and residents would like it at a lower height, the district has the ability to [lower the wall's height]," Greyshock said in an email.

Residents were also concerned about construction vehicles using Virginia Way to access the staging area.

District officials listened to those concerns and proposed that vehicles use only Fourth and South Coast Highway to access the staging area and not Virginia, Greyshock said.

The district does not plan any changes to the underground portion of the project, Greyshock said.

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