Bay Area/ San Francisco
Published on February 17, 2015
Haight And Hayes Streets' Pipeline Replacement Project Delayed

Photo: torbakhopper

As some of you may remember, the massive infrastructure project headed to both Hayes and Haight streets was slated to begin this month. But as of today, there's no sign of construction, and our streets are still (mostly) intact. What gives?

As it turns out, contractual issues are behind the delay, and  the project has been put up for contractors to bid on once again (in layman's terms, that means there isn't actually anyone signed on to do the work yet). Alex Murillo of the Department of Public Works told us the project should break ground in spring of this year, though any further clarification on when and where has yet to be decided. 

As a reminder, on Haight Street, the construction area will run from Laguna Street to Ashbury Street. On Hayes Street, it'll run from Market to Clayton Street:

Replacement of sewage pipes is the main aim of the project. Murillo told us that PUC (Public Utilities Commission) pipes have a life span of 100 years, depending on environmental conditions. The city of San Francisco's sewer system is aging, hence all the recent construction to replace pipes. With over a thousand miles of pipes in San Francisco, the Public Utilities Commission is only averaging between 12 and 13 miles of replacements per year. 

Sidewalk bulb-outs, bus pad replacements, and repaving of the streets in question will also figure in to the plan.

If you're curious what the construction will look like, take a trip back in time to last fall and winter along Divisadero, where we saw PG&E manage a gas pipeline replacement project, wrapping up earlier this year

One difference between Divisadero and the Hayes and Haight projects is the street width. As Divisadero is four lanes wide (with a median in the middle), it was possible for the 24-Divisadero to inch around the construction as it was happening. On Hayes and Haight streets, however, the lanes are smaller, and construction may result in some street closures and traffic detours. This has yet to be determined—the SFMTA will need to review and approve a Traffic Control Plan once it's been created by the Department of Public Works. 

Aside from creating noise, shrinking sidewalks, and causing pedestrians a multitude of issues, large pipeline replacement projects and streetscape construction can also negatively affect businesses.  Former 97 Cent Plus Store owner Deborah Keese told Hoodline during the construction that it was “the nail in the coffin,” speeding up the closing of her shop, and Castro merchants reported a dip in foot traffic and sales due to the long-running Castro Streetscape project, which wrapped up late last year.

Construction in the Lower Haight, Upper Haight and Hayes Valley commercial corridors will undergo a "moratorium" during the busy holiday season, but it remains to be seen what the impact on local businesses will be overall.

Inconvenience aside, word on the street is in that our sewer systems need replacing. Now, it's only a matter of when and where to expect the construction to begin. We'll keep you posted as soon as we learn more about the project's timeline, but in the meantime, enjoy the peace and quiet while you still can.