By Ted AYALA
Residents living along Cañada Boulevard will soon find that the first and last stretches of their daily commute will be getting a little bit longer.
Glendale City Council on Tuesday night approved a contract worth over $10,000,000 to Sully-Miller Contracting Co. of Brea for infrastructure improvements along a stretch of Cañada Boulevard. The project will include improvements to the traffic flow, sewer system, and drainage infrastructure, as well as to the condition of the road itself. Another task includes making the road compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“This is a very extensive and involved project,” said City Manager Scott Ochoa. “No doubt … outreach to residents and commuters will be critical to our success.”
Two community meetings discussing the projects are part of the city’s outreach efforts.
Roubik Goulanian from the city’s city’s Public Works Dept. outlined the goals of the project for the council. In order to minimize disruption to residents, the project will be split into several phases. Replacing a water line that runs along the road would be the first step. That would be followed by the sewer and drainage systems.
Steve Zurn, director of Public Works, estimated that over 15,000 linear feet of piping will be improved by the project.
“This is our first big step towards improving our distribution infrastructure,” he said.
Goulanian also said that Glendale Water & Power (GWP) would also be fixing some of its lines before the high usage period begins on May 31.
Miscellaneous improvements to the pavement would come last.
“I’m just concerned that people are going to be seeing this [project] in stages,” said Mayor Dave Weaver before inquiring about Public Works’ outreach efforts.
The outreach, Goulanian explained, would include the use of changeable signs, regular updates on the department’s website, Facebook, and Twitter page, as well as mailings and door-hanger reminders from the department to affected residents so as to keep the public informed of the progress on the project.
He also explained that the planned process to improve the road’s asphalt will be “environmentally friendly” and that the city has already employed it successfully on another project along Central Avenue.
“We pulverized the existing pavement, then added oil to it, and finally used it as a base for the new rubberized pavement,” he said.
Mayor Weaver expressed optimism over the project, though he appeared wary over the installation of “sharrows” along the boulevard.
“Those people that speed there over 40 mph will have to be cognizant of the fact that bicyclists will also be on that street,” he said. “I wish them luck.”
That concern was also echoed by Councilmember Laura Freidman.
“I know of two residences where cars entered their properties … and could have killed them. Is there any traffic calming being done there? Have we looked at this at all?” she asked.
Goulanian said that ordinances ensuring easy passage for emergency vehicles leave some options off the table along this route. Speed bumps, for example, would not be permitted. But he did say that other solutions, such as striping the edges of the pavement, could help slow traffic.
“Drivers who notice them now recognize they are limited to within a certain space,” he explained. “We have tried that on Royal Boulevard and it has helped immensely.”
Other efforts to improve safety include modernizing five traffic signals along the route with closed-circuit television – CCTV – systems in order to better synchronize them.
Goulanian and Zurn both estimated that, upon successful completion of the project, the road would not need to undergo another improvement for at least 25 years.
“That is our hope,” said Zurn. He also said that the improvements in the water distribution infrastructure would “absolutely” be felt by residents.
“We had some tuberculated pipes – essentially a clogged artery – which is in bad shape. [Residents will] definitely be noticing.”