Projects Overview

Current City of Palo Alto Utilities Projects
Following the gas, electric, water, sewer and fiber project information below, you will find the answers to the Top Three most frequently asked questions, as well as a list of other links you may find helpful.  (Note: Storm Drain projects are under the purview of the Public Works Department.) 

Steel plates on the streets? The steel plates are placed at the locations of excavation in accordance with safety regulations and in order to allow access to the underground infrastructure until the work is completely finished and excavation is backfilled. The plates on the streets are placed/owned and maintained by the Utilities, Contractors working for the Utilities, and third-party developers.

Safety is a number one priority for CPAU! View Utilities safety information at cityofpaloalto.org/safeutility Comments and questions are always welcome and we invite you to
contact us at anytime.


View information on
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) projects in and around Palo Alto.

City of Palo Alto Utilities Gas System Improvements

Gas CIP project overview (July 2012 Presentation)

Walking and Mobile Gas Leak Surveys

Project Overview:

To ensure the safety of all who live and work in Palo Alto, gas leak surveys are performed annually. These surveys are required by Department of Transportation Pipeline Safety Regulations.

Timeline:

June 2015, expected to last one to two months

Location:

Map of areas covered during walking survey

Crossbore – Gas/Sewer Safety Inspection Program

Project Overview:

Checking all privately-owned sewer lines throughout the City to ensure that there are no natural gas lines accidentally “crossbored” through them.

Duration:

Ongoing; expected completion late 2015

Video:

Mayor’s Youth Video Corp – Crossbore

Electric System Improvements

·         Planned Electric CIP Map (2014 – 2018) 

Overhead Electric Distribution System Maintenance

Project Overview:

Pacheco Utility Line Builders, Inc. will work with City of Palo Alto Utilities to perform ongoing maintenance on the overhead electric distribution system throughout the city.

Duration:

Start date March 9, 2015 through March 9, 2016. This contract could possibly be extended to a three year contract that would continue up until March 2018.

Notes:

To allow us to complete some of this work, we might need to shut off power at times.  If and when we do need to shut off power, all impacted customers will receive direct notices of the power shut-down(s) at least three or more days before the event.

LED Streetlight Installations

Project Overview:

To provide brighter, more efficient and high-quality lighting to the streets throughout the City. Over 85% of the city's 6,500 street lights are completed!

Duration:

Phase III of the LED streetlight project was completed in August 2014. This concluded the replacement of "Cobrahead" lights in Palo Alto.

Staff is currently investigating options for retrofitting the remaining "decorative" style lights and will present options to Council before moving forward with any replacements.

Location:

Decorative lights are in various areas around the City, including: University downtown; Crescent Park; Community Center; Leland Manor; and Green Gables.

Middlefield Electric System Rebuild

Project Overview:

Rebuilding the outdated underground electric system from the 1970s to ensure electric service reliability.

Duration:

Hours:

Phase I & II completed.  Phase III is in progress with an expected completion of Winter 2015.

8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday

Location:

Phase III - Middlefield Rd from E. Charleston to San Antonio

Utility Underground District 45

Project Overview:

Convert overhead power lines to an underground system.

Duration:

Completed Summer 2014

Location:

Map


Rebuild Underground District 24

Project Overview:

Rebuild the underground electric system by replacing old equipment with new and reconfiguring it to current design standards.  This is to ensure electric service reliability.

Duration:

Planned start of January 2016 and expected to be completed by spring 2016. Work will be performed afterhours to minimize impact to businesses. Customers will be notified in advance of any power shut offs necessary to perform the work.

Location:

Area bounded by Lytton Ave, Bryant Street, Forest Avenue, and Alma road, as well as smaller areas downtown.


Rebuild and Reconfigure Electric System in Stanford Hospital/Mall Area

Project Overview:

Enable the City to provide reliable service to new facilities at the Stanford and Lucille Packard hospitals.  Utilities is rebuilding and reconfiguring the underground electric system to increase reliability and capability.

Duration:

Various projects in progress with an anticipated completion of Summer 2016

Location:

Quarry Road, Welch Road


Customer Connections

Project Overview:

Wherever there is new construction, Utilities is typically there at some point in the construction process to provide temporary and permanent power as needed.

Duration:

Utilities involvement varies depending on the project and customer's construction schedule.

Location:

Various

Water System Improvements

CAL AVE STREETSCAPE project, which is underway and will continue through much of 2014,includes a major water main replacement. All California Avenue stores, restaurants and offices are open during this construction, parking is available and there is a "quiet time" for lunch daily between 11:30am and 1:00pm. Visit here  for a full description of the project, status and to be added to a direct notification list for project updates.        


ALL PROJECT STATUS UPDATE (March 2013) - this was a presentation to the Utilities Advisory Commission 

UNIVERSITY AVE BEAUTIFICATION: Although not a Utilities project, you may be interested in the Public Works Department’s University Ave Beautification project which includes irrigation efficiency improvements. For more details, click here

Emergency Water Supply Project

Project Overview:

Build a long-term emergency water supply system that will provide enough water to meet basic needs for the entire City in the event of an earthquake or other emergency that cuts off our normal water supply from the Hetch-Hetchy regional system.

Duration:

Completed April 2013
The El Camino Park recreational facilities restoration began in Fall 2014

Location:

El Camino Park

Video:

Mayor’s Youth Video Corp - El Camino Park Water Reservoir Project

 

Live webcam of construction at El Camino Park

Mayfield Reservoir Project

Project Overview:

Demolition of existing Mayfield Pump station, installation of new pump station and emergency generator. Once completed, the new pump station will be used to supply water to the City under normal and emergency conditions.

Duration:

Ongoing; expected completion Summer 2015

Location:

Map

Construction of New Wells: Eleanor Pardee Park & Library/Community Gardens

Project Overview:

Installation of new wells to ensure water system reliability

Duration:

Completed 2013

Location:

Eleanor Pardee Park & Library/Community Gardens

 

Map of Eleanor Pardee Park site

 

Map of Library/Community Gardens site

Emergency Water Supply Well Rehabilitation

Project Overview:

Rehabilitation of existing wells to ensure water system reliability

Duration:

Completed 2013

Location:

Rinconada & Peers Park

 

Wells vicinity map

Sewer System Improvements


Crossbore – Gas/Sewer Safety Inspection Program

Project Overview:

Checking all privately-owned sewer lines throughout the City to ensure that there are no natural gas lines accidentally “crossbored” through them.

Duration:

Ongoing; expected completion late 2015

Video:

Mayor’s Youth Video Corp – Crossbore

Fiber Optic System Improvements

Fiber to Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD)

Project Overview:

This project provides 18 PAUSD facilities with a high speed, high reliability fiber network

Duration:

Completed Fall 2014

Location:

Map

FAQs:

·         Why is PG&E doing construction in Palo Alto? The City of Palo Alto Utilities supplies natural gas to all residents and businesses in Palo Alto. However, the natural gas used in Palo Alto is transported to the City's distribution system through large transmission lines owned by PG&E. Click here  for a list of all current PG&E projects happening in Palo Alto.

·         What do the colored markings in the street mean? These different colored lines and letters have been placed to indicate the location of various underground utilities, so construction crews will not hit them while excavating. They are placed by Underground Services Alert (USA), the folks you should call (811) ANYTIME you plan to dig on your property. Click here to see a chart explaining what all the colors mean.

·         Why are Utilities crews digging up a street that was just repaved? This only happens when there is an urgent problem that must be addressed immediately. Otherwise, a 5 year moratorium on planned projects is observed after a street has been repaved.

·         Utilities project homepage

·         Map of all major utility projects

·         Link to all Electric projects (including finished, current and upcoming) 

·         Link to all Water projects (including finished, current and upcoming) 

·         Link to all Gas projects (including finished, current and upcoming)

·         Link to all Sewer projects (including finished, current and upcoming) 

·         Other questions or concerns? Contact us by email or call (650) 329-2417.

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2015