Preliminary work begins on future roundabout

Crews begin relocating underground utility lines in preparation of roundabout project at Tulare and Santa Fe

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – The City of Visalia took its first step this week toward constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Tulare Avenue and Santa Fe Street.

On Monday, work began to relocate utility lines and connections to make way for the roundabout project planned for next summer. Rebecca Keenan, civil engineer for the city, said crews began by marking the existing underground utilities with paint and then cutting the pavement for the installation of the new pipe.

“Several different utility companies have infrastructure at the intersection, which will have to be adjusted or relocated, in order to provide the clearances that are required for the new roundabout,” Keenan said.

Each utility company will operate independently, with their own contractor to complete the work. Southern California Gas Company and Cal Water Company will be the first utility companies to start the relocation process. They will work to install new pipe, valves, and other underground structures. In addition to the installation of the pipe, the utility contractor will reconnect services, abandon existing infrastructure, and repair the impacted street pavement and concrete. AT&T, Southern California Edison, Comcast, and Century Link will begin their relocation work after Cal Water and the Southern California Gas Company.

Homes and businesses in the immediate utility relocation area will be receiving notices detailing the utility construction activities and impacts to traffic. The California Water Company and Southern California Gas Company work is expected to extend through December 2019. The additional relocation work by the other utilities will extend through spring 2020.

“Businesses and homes in the area will be allowed access at all times with minor exceptions,” adds Keenan. “The utility contractors will work to complete the project as quickly as possible to minimize the impacts and inconveniences to the traveling public.”

No road closures will come as a result of the work, however, the work will be split between night and daytime hours. Cal Water will work during daylight hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Southern California Gas Company will work during night hours, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“Santa Fe Street and Tulare Avenue will remain open to traffic throughout the duration of the project. However, traffic delays are to be expected due to lane restrictions and possible traffic control by flagging, we recommend that drivers take alternative routes if possible,” says Keenan.

In May, the council decided to keep the intersection partially open with road closures in three phases during the estimated 19-week construction process. The Council also decided to use native grasses and drought resistant shrubs on the interior of the roundabout. The project is scheduled for completion in January 2021.

For more information on this project, contact Rebecca Keenan, City of Visalia Civil Engineer at 713-4541 or at [email protected].

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