New Street Lights on Freedom Boulevard


Installation of 18 new street lights on Freedom Boulevard between High Street and Miles Lane is complete.  The installation was done as part of the ongoing utility undergrounding project being done.  A contractor working for PG&E completed installation of conduit and boxes within the roadway, the sidewalk and on private property and placed overhead wiring in the conduit and boxes.  A contractor working for Charter Communications is now moving cable television facilities from overhead to underground.  The Charter work will take up to six months.  AT&T will then move their overhead facilities underground and remove the existing telephone poles.

Work within the roadway and sidewalk will cause minor disruption to vehicles and pedestrians.  Damage will be repaired by the contractor.  At the time that the services are changed from overhead to underground, the interruption to individual businesses and homes will be less than one day.  Those impacted will be notified in advance of their service interruption.  The total cost of the project, including utility work and street light replacement, is estimated at $1.7 million.  The utility work will cost $1.5 million with $1.2 million paid for with funding from the utility companies.

The benefits of underground utilities include better reliability, reduced storm outage potential, greater traffic safety, improved neighborhood appearance and enhanced property values.  The California Public Utility Commission created a program to allow utility companies and cities to remove existing overhead utility lines and install them underground.  Within areas serviced by PG&E, the program is administered by PG&E and referred to as the Rule 20-A Program.  PG&E assistance includes funding, design of construction plans and documents and project oversight.

Rule 20-A funds are provided by the utility companies.  A portion of the rates collected by the utility companies are set aside to be used specifically for undergrounding projects.  Rates collected from Watsonville residents are set aside for projects within the City.  The City has utilized this program in the past.  Examples include most of the downtown area.  The most recent project, done in the late 1990s, was on Freedom Boulevard between Main Street and West High Street.

For more information on this project, contact Murray Fontes, Principal Engineer at 768-3117

This entry was posted on Monday, June 27th, 2016 at 5:26 pm and is filed under City Manager, City of Watsonville, Homepage News, Public Works . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.