LADWP River Supply Conduit Replacement Project Will Extend Until Mid-2023 

The boring machine named "Luciana". (Photo by Ross A Benson)

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s River Supply Conduit Replacement Project – Unit 7 is carrying on in Burbank and will likely continue into next year.

The River Supply Conduit, which has been in place since the 1940s, is an extensive transportation pipeline that carries water from the Northeast Valley region to the Central City region. The LADWP is in the process of replacing nearly 30,000 linear feet of the pipeline, ranging between the North Hollywood Pump Station and the Headworks Spreading Grounds site, with a broader steel pipe. The project is bringing in this new pipeline in order to enhance the LADWP’s water system reliability in the area. 

The LADWP says that the RSC7 project, which began in December 2018, is now about 70% finished. Crew members will next complete 1,400 more feet of mining, followed by the installation of a new pipe that will hold water, called the carrier pipe, in the tunnel. The final stages of the project will consist of implementing vaults and other necessary additions at Johnny Carson Park south, as well as backfill of the pit and site restoration. Although originally projected to end by September 2021, the LADWP now predicts that this endeavor will be done in mid-2023. 

“Luciana a 200-ton 13-foot boring machine that is being used in the tunnel project. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

While mining amongst stones and boulders has created some noise and vibrations in local neighborhoods, LADWP Senior Public Relations Specialist Michael Ventre says this is “well below tolerance limits and [has] not been exceeded due to tunneling operations.” He further stated that, during nighttime hours, sounds may be exacerbated, as neighborhoods generally become quieter after sunset. He also says the department’s team members have been keeping tabs on the amount of noise and vibration being generated as they continue mining.

“Real-time noise and vibration monitoring are performed on the surface directly above the tunneling operation that immediately alerts the project team if those limits are exceeded,” Ventre said.

Through evaluating calls from residents, the LADWP has found that locals experiencing these disturbances are often those who live nearest to the tunnel’s rockier subsurface areas. Those who reside a distance greater than 70 feet away from the centerline of the tunnel are generally not as impacted by the noise and vibration of the tunneling. Regardless, Ventre says that any neighborhood disturbances created by their work should be fleeting as they move forward with the project.

“Residents should notice a decrease in noise as soon as the machine passes their location, and then any noise or vibration should completely disappear once the machine is 50 to 70 feet away,” Ventre said. “When the tunneling operation is running smoothly, this takes approximately one to three days for the machine to pass a residence.”

Some additional benefits of the RSC 7 project include a greater water capacity, higher water pressures, and water quality regulation compliance. Local dignitaries believe the final results will ultimately be worth the wait, especially as it will lead to the City of Burbank completing the construction of the planned Dick Clark Dog Park at Johnny Carson Park south.

“LADWP’s River Supply Conduit is an important project for the region as it increases water capacity and system reliability in the future. We hope that our residents will be patient as the construction continues,” Councilmember Sharon Springer said before adding, “When the project is completed early next year, Burbank will benefit from a beautiful dog park, the Dick Clark Dog Park.” 

The city originally made a deal with the LADWP that would result in the department restoring the site designated for the upcoming park upon completion of the RSC project. This was renegotiated, however, in August of 2019, when city staff and the LADWP instead agreed that the department would leave the site graded and offer $313,890 for improvements the city will make to the park area.

(Image Courtesy Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.)

“We are pleased that LADWP was agreeable to renegotiate their agreement with the City of Burbank to assist us with the development of a future dog park,” Marisa Garcia, Director of the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department, said. “In lieu of restoring the park at the end of their project, LADWP will leave the site pre-graded which will facilitate and expedite construction of the dog park … The City will use [the funds] to assist with the construction costs of the new dog park. This is a mutually beneficial agreement.” 

Editor’s Note: In an email obtained by myBurbank, information was released which stated that the machine being used for the project had been damaged, resulting in some additional noise and vibration, and project delays as it is being repaired. The email also stated that the noise and vibration were still within permit limits. When asked about this claim, the LADWP did not respond with a comment.