One of several public meetings for a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) underground power cable project in the local area was held Wednesday, October 7th at Westchester High School.

The public comment period has been extended until Friday, October 30th to allow sufficient time for comments to be received.

The DWP California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration draft was presented by department staff members at the meeting.

A mitigated negative declaration is conducted when an initial study has been prepared and a determination can be made that no significant environmental impacts will occur. Such a determination is made following revisions to the project or if mitigation measures will be implemented that will reduce all potentially significant impacts to less than significant levels, according to CEQA documentation.

The proposed project would be constructed from mid-April 2010 through mid-2012, and the underground circuit would be put into service after construction is complete. Construction would require three crews, with each crew consisting of five or six people.

Construction hours are planned from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to avoid peak traffic hours, but DWP Underground Transmission Manager Vincent Curzi said the morning set-up and afternoon breakdown would each take an hour, lengthening the time of the project unless a variance is approved to increase the daily construction hours.

At the end of each day, the trenches will be plated and any lane closed during the day for construction would be re-opened until the following day when construction commences.

The office of Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the 11th District, was only notified the day prior to the meeting and members of the public who attended the meeting said they had not seen any notices in local newspapers.

DWP staff said they had advertised the meeting in a local Santa Monica newspaper and in three Los Angeles newspapers.

The LADWP Scattergood-Olympic Line I project proposes construction of approximately 12 miles of underground power cable connecting the Scattergood Generating Station (SGS) in El Segundo at Vista del Mar and Grand Avenue, and Receiving Station K (RS-K) at Centinela Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. The primary project objective is to provide additional capacity to supplement the Scattergood-Olympic Line II.

Scattergood-Olympic Line II also services the RS-K and provides electrical service to the West Los Angeles area, Curzi said.

He said that there is a “critical need” for a new line because the Scattergood-Olympic Line II is not reliable, having experienced multiple failures and problems, with the loss of Line II limiting the power flow from the Scattergood Generating Station.

The future load growth of the Westside is also a primary reason for construction of Line I, Curzi said.

The following project description is from the DWP’s draft CEQA Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration.

RS-K is located approximately one mile northwest of the Interstate 10 (Santa Monica Freeway) and Interstate 405 (San Diego Freeway) interchange, and the generating station is located about one mile southwest of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The proposed project extends from RS-K in the north to the SGS in the south, from Inglewood Boulevard in the east to Vista del Mar in the west. Commercial and residential areas are directly adjacent on both sides of most of the alignment.

The underground circuit route begins at RS-K near the intersection of Olympic and Centinela. It is proposed to head east along Olympic Boulevard, southeast along Bundy Drive, northeast along Ocean Park Boulevard, southeast along Armacost Avenue, northeast along National Boulevard, southeast along Inglewood, southwest along Jefferson Boulevard, southeast along Lincoln Boulevard, southwest along 83rd Street, southeast along Rayford Drive, west along Manchester Avenue, south along Vista del Mar Lane, southeast along Vista del Mar, north on Grand Avenue, and finally terminating at the El Segundo Scattergood Generating Station.

The underground transmission lines would be placed in trenches located entirely underneath public roadway right-of-ways.

At the Inglewood Boulevard, Ballona Creek and Centinela Creek bridge crossings, DWP may either place the transmission line on the underside of the bridges using new conduits attached to the bridges or use directional drilling techniques to bore a hole and pull the conduit underneath the Ballona and Centinela Creek channels.

The proposed project would be located almost entirely within the City of Los Angeles, with the exception of approximately 430 linear feet along Inglewood Boulevard, just north and south of Washington Boulevard, which would be located in Culver City.

During the public comment period, one speaker asked if this new line would directly benefit either LAX or the Westchester-Playa del Rey area.

Curzi said that LAX has another station providing its power and the line would not specifically benefit Westchester, but that “this line represents an additional backup power transfer capability and can prevent electric service outages for the Westchester area.”

“The Scattergood Olympic Line I adds to the backbone of the electrical system in Los Angeles,” DWP power engineering manager Minh T. Le told The Argonaut. “It will increase overall reliability of the West Los Angeles area in particular, and increases reliability for the entire city.”

The main issues of concern to the public were the disruption of traffic that the project will impose on the neighborhoods through which it passes and environmental issues such as noise and air quality.

Comments can be sent to Adrene Briones, project manager, LADWP, Environmental Services, 111 N. Hope St., Room 1044, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Fax: (213) 367-4710, or

adrene.briones@ladwp.com

The document is available for review online, file name “Scattergood-Olympic Line I Project,” at www.ladwp.com/ladwp/cms/ladwp004156.jsp/.

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