End in sight for Sonoma’s W. Napa St. water project

Thanksgiving is given as an expected end-date for the West Napa Street Water System Replacement, a project that began in late May and has extended a month past its initial target deadline. The date was announced by Colleen Ferguson, the City of Sonoma’s Public Works Director and City Engineer.

A necessary infrastructure project for Sonoma, the project is replacing the water main the length of West Napa Street, from the Plaza to the intersection of Riverside (Staples) in a westward direction. A new larger water main is being laid, to replace the aged 8-inch line in place.

The project was delayed for several weeks during the recent fire emergency, said Ferguson, “to avoid potential impediment to emergency responders and evacuees.”

As the project nears completion, businesses along West Napa Street – which serves as California State Highway 12 between the Plaza and Sonoma Highway at Riverside – can look forward to smooter traffic and less construction noise.

“It hasn’t had a huge impact on our business,” Kayla Stewart, marketing manager at El Pueblo Inn near the western end of the .8-mile-long project, “and we’re grateful for whatever improvements it will bring to the city.”

She did mention that the nighttime noise of construction, and the metal plates covering the trenches during daylight hours, did pose noise issues. “We had to turn up our fountains to full blast to mask the construction noise.” But Stewart said they had no cancellations, and only two complaints, fewer than she anticipated.

At least two minor delays occurred this summer, once when electrical wiring to a stop light at Fifth Street West was severed, on Aug. 2, disabling the stoplight for the better part of a day; and again a week later when gas line was inadvertently broken by a backhoe.

Remaining construction work includes replacement of water services set off-line during the construction, the addition of fire hydrants, and completing the replacement of the existing water main from Seventh Street West to Sonoma Highway. Surface restoration, striping activities, and other construction close-out activities will follow along West Napa Street from Sonoma Plaza to Sonoma Highway.

Stewart was skeptical of the done-by-Thanksgiving deadline the city announced. “That seems very optimistic,” she said.

Work is scheduled to continue from Sunday through Thursday night between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., until Thanksgiving. Residents and business owners will be notified of water shut-downs that will affect their property, said Ferguson. Water shut-downs will be scheduled overnight to minimize inconvenience.

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