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RMWD takes care of Live Oak Park bridge brackets and pipe supports

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

When the County of San Diego approved a contract for the replacement of the Live Oak Park Road bridge which will impact two Rainbow Municipal Water District water mains, Rainbow utilized the county contract with Hazard Construction to add the water main relocation to the work.

The county contract neglected brackets and pipe supports needed to hang the two water lines, so Rainbow’s board approved a change order with its contract with Hazard to add those brackets and pipe supports.

Rainbow’s board voted 5-0 Dec. 6 to authorize a $36,653.55 change order to the contract with Hazard Construction, which is based in Lakeside. The change order increases the total contract amount to $576,684.80.

Live Oak Park Bridge is on Live Oak Park Road and crosses the San Luis Rey tributary 160 feet south of Gum Tree Lane. The bridge was constructed in the 1950s by placing three corrugated metal arched culverts side by side in the streambed and connecting them together with Portland cement concrete headwall and endwall composition.

Past inspections of Live Oak Park Bridge revealed a vertical deflection of 1 1/2 feet. Water leaking from one culvert to another was also observed. The deficiencies found included distorted and corroded pipes, bent and crushed pipe sections, pipe deflection, and pipe section loss.

Bridge flooding concerns were also noted, as reviews of the bridge determined that the existing metal culverts would not be able to accommodate a 100-year flood event, and the driver sight distance was deemed to be inadequate.

The existing 25 foot long triple arch culvert bridge will be replaced by a concrete slab bridge approximately 58 feet in length with the ability to handle large storms. The project will also improve the alignment and sight distance for that portion of Live Oak Park Road. The road elevation will be raised between three and four feet and the existing corrugated metal pipe culverts underneath the roadway will be removed.

The work will create utility conflicts with San Diego Gas & Electric power lines, AT&T telephone lines, and Rainbow Municipal Water District water pipes. The elevations and alignments of Rainbow’s eight‑inch and 16-inch water mains need to be modified. The county has prior rights along Live Oak Park Road, which means that Rainbow is responsible for the water main relocation. The county’s Department of Public Works agreed to construct pipe supports along the sides of the new bridge so that Rainbow can attach the water mains.

In December 2021, the county awarded the Live Oak Park Road Bridge replacement contract to Hazard Construction. Rainbow requested a change order for Hazard to perform the water main relocation in conjunction with the project and the district reimbursing the county for the work, but the county declined that request due to change order limits in the state Public Contract Code. The county did, however, express willingness for Rainbow to have Hazard perform the water main relocation under a district-initiated contract.

The county issued Hazard a Notice to Proceed in March 2022. That month, Rainbow met with Hazard Construction to discuss plans and specifications and requested a bid for the water main relocations.

Rainbow’s legal staff determined that competitively bidding the water main portion would not provide any advantage and could create conflicts between contractors if the work was not closely coordinated. In April 2022, Rainbow’s board approved an agreement with Hazard to add the water main relocation to the bridge replacement work.

In the early phases of design, the county agreed to include all work associated with Rainbow’s water lines in the county’s design and specifications. That included the construction of pipe supports along the sides of the new bridge to allow Rainbow to attach the existing eight-inch and 16-inch water mains to their facility.

In December 2020, the county’s Utilities Coordinator confirmed that work regarding the district’s waterlines would be included in the county’s bid package, but in March 2021, he informed Rainbow staff that his electronic mail confirmation had been “misinterpreted” and that the county did not intend to perform any work on Rainbow’s behalf. The county requested that Rainbow provide its own set of plans and specifications and bid the project separately.

The brackets and pipe supports were in the original county contract design and bid package. “The county indicated they would be added,” said Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy.

Rainbow thus omitted the brackets and pipe supports from its own bid package. After the project was bid and awarded, Rainbow learned that the county contract did not include the brackets and pipe supports. “They had taken it out of the scope,” Kennedy said.

Rainbow’s original contract with Hazard Construction was for $507,700. An October 2022 change order to provide additional pipe fittings for the two water mains added $32,331.25 to the contract. That change order was within Kennedy’s authority to approve without Rainbow board action, but the second change order to add the brackets and pipe supports exceeded the cumulative amount which can be awarded administratively.


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