Transmission Line Project: Traffic Impacts

Background

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) rammed down our throats the Sycamore to Peñasquitos 230-kV transmission line. It goes from overhead to underground in StoneBridge Estates on Stonebridge Parkway to Pomerado Road to Interstate 15. 

The construction work will have two different types of impact. First, there is the installation of 10 large underground vaults on Pomerado Road. Then workers will have to trench from vault to vault to actually place the transmission line. There may be two construction locations on Pomerado Road at the same time. 

Your Scripps Ranch Civic Association, (SRCA) working with the Scripps Ranch Planning Group (SRPG), requested meetings with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), its contractor, and the city in December to discuss the traffic impacts to our community. The contractor wasn’t hired until March. The city first said that they won’t meet with the SRCA, but with the help of Councilmember Mark Kersey and SDG&E that changed. 

Traffic Impact Meeting

We finally met in April. At that time SDG&E had already received final approval from the city for its construction traffic plan that would use workers with flags to control traffic in the area. They also said the work would start in two weeks. So we began the meeting knowing there was a fully approved construction traffic control plan! Representing the SRCA, I met with the city’s traffic engineer. I provided statistical data, mathematical information, traffic circulation experience, and a Scripps Ranch “doable solution.” 

As mentioned, the traffic control plan called for workers with flags to handle the traffic. That would mean stopping vehicles at construction locations on Pomerado Road, allowing about 30 cars to proceed in one direction then 30 cars to proceed in the other direction from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. There are about 1,000 cars an hour on Pomerado Road at those times, so you can only imagine the horrible backup it would have created. We were concerned not only about congestion on Pomerado Road but about drivers finding alternate routes through our residential streets. 

The SRCA Plan

I went “toe to toe” for multiple rounds of verbal boxing with the city traffic engineer and SDG&E. It was four people against me, your SRCA president. I proposed a detour plan where one lane of Pomerado remains open and the other direction is strategically rerouted—from Spring Canyon Road to Scripps Ranch Boulevard to Scripps Poway Parkway. 

During our “scrimmage” the traffic engineer for SDG&E offered what we were told was earlier rejected, maintaining two lanes of traffic at all times. To my surprise city traffic engineering agreed to pursue two 10-foot wide lanes at all times. In subsequent research into that possibility, the city agreed to have two lanes through construction zones from I-15 to Fairbrook Road, with a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit rather than the current 45.

As of press time, the plan called for a hybrid detour-“flagman” operation from Fairbrook Road to Spring Canyon Road. However, we asked for 11-foot wide lanes from Fairbrook to Spring Canyon roads, which SDG&E and the city are still evaluating so as to not use the “flagman” traffic control at all. The work in front of Marshall Middle School begins on Thursday, June 15, the day after school ends. 

Caltrans and the county agreed to work at night from I-15 to the east end of the Davis Ranch property, where the condos begin. There may be construction during the day on Saturdays, which will speed along the project. Without a reduction of time, it is expected to take 18 months to complete. The SRCA will provide updates on our website at www.scrippsranch.org and our Facebook page—search and “Like” Scripps Ranch Civic Association. More on the project is at www.sdge.com/key-initiatives/SX-PQ-Updates.

SRCA’s Promise To You

We are bringing light to this issue as an example of how the SRCA, a volunteer town council, fulfills its mission to advocate for Scripps Ranch residents. There is no one else fighting for you like we do. 

Please tell us what you think by emailing me at [email protected] More importantly, become a supporting member of the SRCA so we can continue improving your quality of life. It’s easy—just go to www.scrippsranch.org/join.

Bob Ilko, SRCA President