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San Francisco

Haight Street Infrastructure Project To Resume In March

The holidays are over and cherry trees are prematurely blossoming, so it's time to check in on Haight's Street's now-infamous infrastructure project. What can we expect from the project that gave the Upper Haight multiple gas leaks and plenty of subcontractor drama in 2015?

According to Mohammed Nuru, the Director of San Francisco Public Works (DPW), the work will resume very soon, possibly in about two weeks.

There's no hard start date, as a complete timeline for the project is still being set. DPW is coordinating with PG&E and the contractor Ghilotti Bros. to set priorities and put into place new safety protocols for when work resumes. 

The new subcontractors are Anvil Builders and Michael O’Shaughnessy Construction. Having two subcontractors, Nuru noted, means that it's taking a bit longer to coordinate and get a timeline set. The upside to a larger crew is that Nuru anticipates that the work might actually get done faster. 

As part of new safety protocols, Nuru said that DPW's goal is to have someone on-site supervising at all times, whether from DPW or PG&E, in order to minimize the risk of another gas line strike. DPW is also in the process of getting video footage of all the surfaces involved, as well as of the work that has already been done by former subcontractor Synergy, so that the new subcontractors can make sure the work was done correctly.

"We have found a better way to communicate the whole project. We’re really looking at the project at a whole. We’re looking at safety and making sure that safety is the number one biggest concern," said Nuru. 

Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon noted that 311 should be used as a resource for residents and businesses in the event of any future emergencies. In the case of past gas leaks, some people received conflicting information about whether they should shelter in place or evacuate homes and businesses. That up-to-date information will come from the SF Fire Department, Gordon said, and will be communicated via 311 (both the phone line and the app). If you see issues yourself, you can use the app to let 311 know (you can even upload photos to the app). 

As for impacted businesses along the Haight's retail corridor, they can often lose up to 40 percent of their daily business while construction lingers on, according to Haight Ashbury Merchant's Association treasurer Christin Evans (and this writer's boss at Booksmith). DPW has said it will work with HAMA to develop "OPEN FOR BUSINESS" signs that merchants can install in their windows to at least partially address the problem. 

We'll update with a timeline for work when it comes down the pipeline. In the meantime, brace yourselves for noisy days, lost parking, and forward progress come March.

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