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Public Works projects to bring changes to Bishop

November 29, 2011

Bishop Public Works plans on replacing 1,000 feet of sewer line clogged with grease located near the back of the City Park. The line replacement will, hopefully, prevent an overflow emergency in the future. Photo by Mike Bodine

Bishop’s Public Works Department is planning major projects for the near future to replace aging infrastructure and possibly add to the commercial viability of the city.
According to Public Works Director Dave Grah, a 1,000-foot section of busy sewer line located in the City Park needs to be replaced and a street improvement project is being planned for Warren Street.
Warren Street parallels Main Street from West South Street and ends at the Back Alley Bowling parking lot. The City Council has had prior discussion regarding Warren Street and its potential as a commercial corridor that the city would have more control over than Main Street, maintained by Caltrans.
The Warren Street project will include repaving of the entire street, sidewalk and gutter construction and a general facelift. Grah said he hopes the project, which is years down the line, can “compliment” the major Caltrans 395 Americans with Disabilities Act project. This project will include placing ADA ramps at intersections along Main Street with other work. Caltrans has a project date set for 2015.
There had been previous discussion by City Council that the street could provide a safe corridor for a bicycle lane, but Grah said there is not enough right-of-way on the narrow street to allow for one. Another idea was to bury overhead wires, but Grah said that project would be more expensive than the street improvement projects. He added that he hopes to work with the L.A. Department of Water and Power in straightening the current power lines.
Grah also said he wants to be proactive and make a fix to a sewer artery to lessen a potential sewer overflow in the Bishop City Park. The cost of the repairs is estimated at $100,000. While not included in this year’s budget, he said the cost can be covered by the sewer fund’s account for capitol improvement projects. The sewer account, a capitol outlay account, is created for the sole purpose of maintenance and emergency repairs and is included as a small fee in the monthly rate charged to customers.
A major branch of the Bishop sewer system runs underneath the park and handles much of North Bishop as well as excess from the Eastern Sierra Community Service District one month a year. The line runs from East Yaney Street, under City Park Field 2 and Bishop Creek, and south between the Community Garden and the residences to the west.
Grah explained to the Bishop City Council that the section of line has been a trouble spot with grease build-up in lines. These lines were once flat and but have rippled as the line was placed on old Bishop Creek ground that has since buckled and settled with age.
Grah said the line is connected to many restaurants and is prone to “major issues with grease.”
He explained the problem had been isolated to a single manhole but after further review and inspection with a sewer line camera, Grah said “it quickly became a much bigger problem.” The sewer camera, purchased jointly with the Eastern Sierra Community Service District in 2008, allows workers to inspect every inch of line for problems or potential problems that can be fixed before escalating to an emergency.
The job will include the replacement of 1,000 feet of sewer line, proper ground grading and compaction for the line. Four manhole covers will be needed.
“It’s a good time to build with prices so low,” Grah said, explaining that the down economy has contractors and builders lowering bids to attract work. Grah added that because the work is completely re-construction, no environmental studies are required under the California Environmental Quality Act.
According to the bid request from Public Works, the bids should open on Nov. 30 with the project awarded on Dec. 12 and construction to be completed by the end of January.

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