The Poway City Council has decided to terminate the city’s contract with the contractor building a pedestrian pathway as part of the Espola Road utility line undergrounding project.
Traffic controls in place along the road will be removed and the traffic light at the road’s intersection with Del Poniente and High Valley roads will be returned to its original configuration on Saturday, according to a press release distributed late Wednesday morning.
“The city will work with its design team and with SDG&E to thoroughly review design plans, construction schedule coordination, utility and design conflicts, potential traffic control plans and other items of concern before rebidding the remaining work,” the release said. “While SDG&E will begin work on its undergrounding project in the short-term, the city expects that work on its portion of the project will be on a several-month hiatus before a new contract for construction is awarded.”
City Manager Tina White said a preconstruction meeting with SDG&E representatives is planned for Monday.
“The city wasn't satisfied with the progress being made on the project,” Mayor Steve Vaus said Wednesday afternoon. “There is no doubt in my mind we can be more efficient and less disruptive by terminating the contract and reassessing our approach.”
Last November, the city disclosed that work on the 6-foot-wide pathway on the western side of Espola Road, from Mountain Road to Willow Ranch Road, had fallen significantly behind schedule.
Employees of the pathway’s contractor, Just Construction, had found pipes coming through footings of existing walls, private irrigation lines and water meters that are in the way, White said at the time. In some cases, those discoveries required the preparation of revised construction documents, she said.
Traffic control measures put up last fall as part of the pathway project snarled morning traffic, with motorists heading to schools in the area or to work encountering long waits. The signalized traffic lights were adjusted in an effort to ease the situation.
Residents in the area frequently complained on social media and to City Hall of seeing very little work done on the pathway project and of long gaps between construction days.
4:15 p.m. — Story updated with comments from the mayor.