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Lindero construction to end summer 2024

Insights into the 3-year Calleguas – Las Virgenes Interconnection project
Lindero+construction+to+end+summer+2024

For many Oak Park students, the white barricades and bright orange traffic cones of construction sites have become a familiar sight on Lindero Canyon Rd. Construction work for the Calleguas–Las Virgenes Interconnection started back in 2021 and will continue until summer of 2024. 

The project’s previous February 2024 completion date was pushed back due to complications near the intersection of Bowfield and Lindero. In March 2023, they encountered groundwater while excavating in the area which resulted in a temporary pause in construction. Instead of completely halting the project, Calleguas Municipal Water District skipped the impaired section of road and continued construction north of Bowfield in early May.

The district hired a contractor to clear the water so they could continue installing the pipeline. These machines were recently transported to the site and quickly put to work so construction could resume.

“The contractor is mobilizing some equipment that is going to be used to dewater the trench,” CMWD’s Manager of Engineering Fernano Baez said. “We are hoping to lay the pipeline down there in the next few weeks.”

Another complication the crews had to overcome was heavy rain during the project’s timeline. 

“The winters of 2022 and 2023 were particularly wet ones,” Baez said. “That rain had a huge impact on construction. It made the site very difficult to access and the ground slippery and wet. It was challenging to get trucks in and out of the construction site.”

Traffic caused by the construction has been frustrating for many students and Oak Park locals, but as 2024 progresses the project is quickly wrapping up. As the Bowfield pipeline is laid the CMWD has just a few more things to work on before checking and testing the pipeline. These include improving the previous pipeline running underneath Kanan by installing valves to allow for intake and outtake of air, building a new meter system and finishing up the interchange between the Las Virgenes and Calleguas pipes.

The CMWD is sympathetic to the traffic frustration but wishes that people would see the bigger picture. 

“We understand that nobody likes construction or parts of the road impacting traffic on the way to work or school but the importance of the project is vital,” Senior Communications Specialist Megan Schneider said. “I think sometimes people don’t realize the amount of infrastructure that it takes to bring water to you so you can fill up your bottle or wash your hands.”

The interconnection project is one of many initiatives being taken by the district to improve water reliability and sustainability for the Ventura County area. The CMWD serves 75% of Ventura County’s population and relies on a single connection to Metropolitan through the Santa Susana tunnel. 

If something were to happen to that connection or drought was to cause major water allocation reductions, the interconnection could be used to provide temporary relief. Without this safeguard, water could be provided for up to six months; but this would require extreme conservation by everyone in the county – meaning the minimum water needed for health and safety. The “relief” water would be sourced from Lake Bard and the Las Posas Basin Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project; and the 19 purveyors, whom the CMWD delivers water to, would be responsible for enforcing conservation measures like this.

The interconnection project will help relieve some of these stresses and create a more reliable fall back system. For more information regarding the construction or project visit the CMWD website, where they provide weekly updates.

 

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Penelope Kladopoulos, Opinion Editor
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