Major upgrades planned for San Bruno community destroyed by pipeline blast

As the first wave of San Bruno families who lost their homes in a deadly pipeline explosion put the finishing touches on new dwellings, city leaders are starting to talk about how to rebuild the neighborhood that surrounded them.

San Bruno’s City Council held a study session Tuesday night to discuss rebuilding the Crestmoor neighborhood’s streets and sidewalks, water and sewer lines and a neighborhood park destroyed by the Sept. 9, 2010, gas pipeline explosion, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

“What we’re looking for is, what is it that really needs to be done to put the neighborhood back together, both from a policy perspective as well as a physical perspective?” City Manager Connie Jackson said.

City staff estimate that there are $3 million to $4 million in necessary repairs, a written staff presentation shows. Those repairs will include upsizing water and sewer lines to accommodate homes that are about 40 percent larger than the ones destroyed in the explosion, and also a host of new building codes put in place since the original homes were built.

But city staffers are recommending that the repairs be extended throughout the Crestmoor neighborhood, beyond the area most severely affected by the blast. Much of the neighborhood’s basic infrastructure is 50 or more years old and not up to modern standards, and Jackson said she thinks it would make more sense to replace it all at once.

City leaders also are considering undergrounding utilities, installing traffic-slowing streetscaping and making Earland Glenview Park bigger and adding a memorial.

Including the necessary repairs, the fixes could cost between $9 million and $11 million, plus an estimated $9 million to $10 million for undergrounding utilities, something Jackson said city officials are still studying. Jackson said the money for the fixes would come from a trust fund the utility set up for the city.

The council is set to discuss the proposed upgrades at its Dec. 13 meeting, Mayor Jim Ruane said, and in a series of additional public meetings in late January.

“It’ll be a collaborative effort, as it has been through this whole tragedy and rebuild,” Ruane said.

Jackson said a few of the home rebuilds are close to done and at least one homeowner hopes to be back in the neighborhood by the end of this year.

“People are moving forward with great enthusiasm and speed,” she said.

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