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It's a Tangled Web Under Our Streets

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at 08:14AM
Under 9th and Figueroa

Diagram of utilities under the roadway at 9th and Figueroa, part of a permit for DWP electrical work.

Under the asphalt of our Downtown roadways lies a tangled web -- one hundred years of utilities, both working and abandoned. Pipes, conduits, bricks and old rails are all buried beneath the streets, easier to cover over than to remove.

That mess makes life interesting for construction workers who need to cut into the roadway.

Pictured is a portion of the drawing done laying out work for DWP to connect a 34.5kv power conduit to Astani's Concerto project at 900 S. Figueroa.

As this diagram attests, record keeping was an inexact science when many of these pieces went into the ground. Buried railroad tracks are shown on both Figueroa and 9th, both with exact locations unknown.

Also under Figueroa are an eight inch sewer pipe, a cable conduit, one working gas pipe along with three listed as abandoned, an AT&T conduit, one for DWP and a 48 inch storm drain.

One wonders how workers can ever manage a cut into the street without knocking out one thing or another.

The construction permit for the DWP job says that work is scheduled to commence this Thursday and be done within a week.

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