An East Bay Municipal Utilities District urban pipeline project has moved through the public comment stage in affected areas in Berkeley, El Cerrito, San Pablo and Richmond.
The West of Hills Northern Pipelines project includes the construction of four pipelines that will replace pipelines installed in the 1930s with new pipe that will carry more water in anticipation of future demand, said EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Pook.
"There will be more capacity to provide residents with water from our reservoirs, and the new pipes will be more reliable than the old pipes," Pook said. "We will be able to move water around the system in a more efficient way."
The new pipelines are aimed at improving service to Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules and the unincorporated communities of West Contra Costa, according to EBMUD.
The Berkeley Wildcat Pipeline will begin in the Berkeley hills at Nogales Avenue and Parkside Drive and run along Benvenue Avenue or Hillegass Avenue, Stuart Street, Telegraph Avenue, Ward Street and Dana Street north to the intersection of Dana and Parker streets.
The El Cerrito Wildcat Pipeline will run from the intersection of Lynn and San Carlos avenues north and west along Ashbury Avenue, C Street, Norvell Street, Lincoln Avenue and Richmond Street to the intersection of Hill and Liberty streets.
Installation of the two 48-inch pipelines will begin in January, 2015, with an anticipated completion date of June, 2016.
Construction of the two Central Pressure Zone Pipelines in El Cerrito and Richmond, and Richmond and San Pablo, is scheduled to begin in 2021 and end in 2022.
The projects are estimated to cost $65.3 million and funding comes from the district's capital improvements budget.
The El Cerrito and Richmond pipeline will run along San Pablo Avenue from Central Avenue in El Cerrito to Nevin Avenue in Richmond.
The Richmond and San Pablo pipeline will be installed along 23rd Street and Brookside Drive from Nevin Avenue in Richmond to the intersection of Road 20 and 21st Street in San Pablo.
The placement of the pipelines in the street will depend upon the location of existing utility lines and alignment adjustments may be required as the projects move forward, according to the utility.
The new pipelines will typically go under other underground utilities.
EBMUD held meetings in Berkeley, San Pablo and El Cerrito to take comments on the project's draft environmental impact report.
A total of 13 residents attended the three meetings. The utility has agreed to consider a suggestion for an alternative route that would call for the Richmond/San Pablo pipeline to cross Wildcat Creek in San Pablo, Pook said.
EBMUD will dig open trenches to install pipe for all but 170 feet of the 8.5-mile project. The utility is planning to use an underground boring machine in San Pablo to drill under Wildcat Creek.
"It sounded to me like questions were being asked at the meetings as opposed to issues being raised," Pook said. "People asked about where the pipeline is going to be, what streets are going to be closed, the hours of work and the impacts on businesses."
Construction will take place between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., but longer hours could be necessary at times to reduce disruption of water service, according to the draft EIR.
The utility was also taking written comments from the public about the draft EIR through July 2.
A final EIR on the project is due in October with certification by the EBMUD board planned for December.