Final utility pole removed from La Jolla Shores launches new phase of undergrounding project

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California Construction News staff writer

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) removed the last remaining overhead utility pole from a La Jolla Shores neighborhood. This milestone marks the completion of the second phase of construction on the La Jolla Circuit 1J undergrounding project.

Work in an area east of La Jolla Shores Drive is complete, and a phase west of La Jolla Shores Drive is planned to be finished later this year.

Phase 2 of the La Jolla Circuit 1J Undergrounding Project included putting overhead utilities underground in the area east of La Jolla Shores Drive from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography south to Nautilus Street, installing five new streetlights and 14 disabled-accessible pedestrian ramps, and planting 24 new street trees.

“We are here to celebrate the last remaining overhead utility pole from this part of the La Jolla Shores neighborhood being removed at long last,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

Undergrounding will “improve public safety and aesthetics for our community, as well as the overall reliability and resilience of our critical utility systems,” Gloria said.

Work on Phase 2 began in 2019 and has provided 1.8 miles of underground electrical, telephone and broadband utilities serving 81 homes.

To move Phase 1 toward completion, “the city and utility companies are working together to resolve technical issues,” said San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla.

Additional undergrounding projects in other La Jolla neighborhoods are continuing and a project to put all of San Diego’s utilities below ground will proceed under a new franchise agreement with SDG&E – to replace 1,000 miles of overhead lines over the next 54 years, Gloria said. The city currently is undergrounding about 15 miles of overhead utility lines each year.

An overview of the undergrounding work and an update to the schedule is on the agenda at city council environment committee meeting later this month.

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