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Alley work set to begin

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The Midtown alley next to Old Soul Co. was expected to be closed to through traffic starting Monday when utility upgrades were scheduled to begin.


A contractor working for the city’s Department of Utilities was expected to start a $187,000 project to replace 80- to 100-year-old, underground water and sewer pipes running the length of the alley, located from 17th to 18th streets between L Street and Capitol Avenue, as well as to adjacent properties.

"They’ve reached the end of their useful life, and it’s time to replace them," said Jessica Hess, spokeswoman for the city’s utilities department.

The work is the first step in a nearly $400,000 pilot alley project to improve the alley hardscape. The project is a joint effort between the city and the nonprofit Alley Activation Alliance, a private committee spearheading an "alley activation" movement in Sacramento. 

At the same time, developer Jeremy Drucker, who is a leader of the alley group, is building an alley-front condo project on the alley facing Old Soul coffee roastery.

Pedestrians and residents who live on that block will still have access to the alley. When needed, construction work will be stopped to allow people access to private parking on the alley at all times. Businesses including Old Soul, 1716 L St., will remain open, Hess said.

Larger pipes will be installed to improve water, sewer and storm drainage service, reliability and water pressure in case of fire protection needs. For example, an 8-inch waste water pipe carrying combined sewage and storm water will be replaced by a 12-inch pipe. New pipes will also be installed at a greater angle than the old, nearly parallel system to increase the speed of water flow, which will help keep drain inlets from backing up and help prevent street flooding.

The city will also replace water valves, manholes and drain inlets.

The alley group has raised money and in-kind donations for the rest of the alley improvements, which will include lighting, planter boxes and a trash enclosure.

Once the utilities work is finished, the city’s Department of Transportation will begin to rebuild the alley surface with permeable paving stones. The City Council approved using $100,000 in community development block grant funds for permeable pavers.

Utility work will take place from early July through mid-August. The rest of the work is expected to be completed by early to mid-September, Hess said.


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