PG&E begins new project on Alma Street


Pacific Gas and Electric Company on Wednesday began replacing major valves on Alma Street between Colorado Avenue and the Oregon Expressway/Page Mill Road overpass.

The work will require excavation on driveways and sidewalks in that area as well as periodic lane closures over the coming months, said Utilities Communications Manager Debra Katz.

"Beleaguered northbound Alma commuters, who have in the past year dealt with traffic congestion and delays due to the PG&E project on Charleston Road, the City water main replacement along Alma and the Alma street repaving, will now have an additional couple of months of hassle to contend with," Katz said.

But the "good news," she added, is that PG&E workers will not be excavating in the newly paved street.

Once the work is completed, the city will have a safer gas line that can accommodate new PG&E inspection technology. Starting in 2014, inspection devices dubbed "Smart Pigs" can be run through the pipes on Alma Street to make sure everything is running smoothly. These devices can be equipped with robotic cameras and sensors to check pipe thickness and for any flaws or corrosion. The line will also go through hydrostatic testing, exerting water pressure on the pipes to reveal any potential weakness.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2013 at 8:56 am


The good news is the work will not be excavating the newly paved street.

The bad news is that there will be more traffic inconvience - again - in the same area. Why can't they do it all at once?


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Posted by Clay
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 15, 2013 at 10:54 am

You have to be kidding me...

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Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Maybe this will slow down the people who fly down Alma as if it were the freeway. Resident, they could have shut down Alma from Page Mill to Charleston and "done it all at once", except there are different agencies involved and it would have been an even bigger hassle and inconvenience. Reminds me of the time I was preparing to repair a gas leak in the street and the resident came out and whined that she was having a dinner party and didn't want any mess. Good old Palo Alto!

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I just hope that this doesn't turn into another long debacle of congestion.

A couple of years ago, a four week test turned into many months of aggravation and inconvenience. The PG&E crews tore up the road, blocked driveways/entrances/exits and also endangered citizens by blocking drivers' lines of sight as they attempted to pull onto Alma.
Even the most recent "test" lasted longer than estimated and produced enormous amounts of noise -- even throughout the night.

Over the last four years, it seems that PG&E spends at least a month per year "testing" things on Alma St. while causing major inconveniences to residents and drivers. In addition, when PG&E wasn't working on Alma St., others have been.

I hope that this isn't as inconvenient as nearly every other "test" conducted by PG&E. Also, I hope that the PG&E workers can park non-essential vehicles elsewhere. It is a safety hazard to have residents who live along Alma try and pull out on the street when they can't see oncoming traffic due to the trucks.

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Posted by Mr Pants
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Nayeli is spot on. My girlfriend lived on Alma near Colorado for three years and endured several multi-month PGE invasions, although they were always advertised as a 'week or two' initially. She was unable to use her driveway for weeks at a time (no street parking on Alma, remember) due it being dug up or used as a parking lot for construction vehicles. There were often workers taking naps in or under these vehicles only steps from her door, which was quite awkward. The noise was incessant and often went through the weekend and past 10pm.
Long story short, it made the decision to move out of the area this spring (and out of Palo Alto) pretty straightforward. I am thoroughly unsurprised that they have to come back and dig it up again - just look at the Foothill/Junipero Serra disaster.

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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

If you want to hear about inconvenience, talk to the people in Belmont whose houses burned down after the pipeline explosion.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 16, 2013 at 8:18 am

Sorry, I meant San Bruno. I got my B's mixed up.

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2013 at 9:23 am

Donald: No one is saying that PG&E shouldn't be able to test their lines. Moreover, no one is so callous as to not grieve for those who lost their lives due to the PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

However, this is about ongoing tests on Alma Street -- year in and year out -- and the consequences to this city. The workers can take their trucks and park them elsewhere when not in use (instead of blocking driveways, entrances, exits, lines of sight or even boxing in vehicles).

In fact, as someone else mentioned, the workers parked in our parking spaces...often asleep. That is some cushy job!

Perhaps PG&E would be better served if they actually considered the people who they proclaim to "serve." If we learned anything from San Bruno, it's that PG&E doesn't care very much about individual human beings. Perhaps that is why they tried to push the enormous cost of their own negligence upon taxpayers.

PG&E can test the lines...but they should have the foresight to be honest about what it entails. They should also do EVERYTHING within their power to not cause even greater inconvenience to the residents who's lives they perpetually disrupt anyway.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of South of Midtown

on Jun 6, 2017 at 11:37 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Southgate

on Jun 6, 2017 at 11:39 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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