Top stories of 2021: Gas pipeline replacement project disrupts traffic in Rancho Bernardo and Poway

After hearing about plans for the San Diego Gas & Electric Line 1600 Pipeline Replacement Project over the past two years, residents of Rancho Bernardo and Poway have finally seen progress in their communities.

In mid-May, the utility company began digging trenches and installing a pipeline several miles up Pomerado Road. With multiple work locations – often three crews were stationed along a stretch – traffic delays during the week have become a common part of commuting.

However, by the end of December, the end was beginning to appear, as SDG&E officials announced that 80% of the work had been completed on its 6-mile Pomerado North project. Additionally, 35 percent has been completed on the 3-mile Pomerado South project and all of the Poway portion of the 3.7-mile Scripps Poway Parkway project has been completed.

SDG&E is replacing and realigning a 16-inch natural gas pipeline installed 72 years ago. It begins at the Riverside/San Diego County line and interconnects with other parts of the San Diego natural gas system at Mission Valley. The 50-mile pipeline is the primary or sole natural gas supply to approximately 150,000 customers in a number of communities.

The pipeline safety improvement plan includes replacing 37 miles of existing pipe in more populated areas and stress testing an additional 13 miles in less populated areas, according to SDG&E officials.

The work is spread over 19 projects, three of which impact Pomerado Road. All of the pipeline in this area is replaced and relocated so that it is below the streets relative to where the original pipeline was located – between homes, businesses and below amenities. The original pipeline will be decommissioned, but will remain in place, officials said.

As for the Pomerado North segment — it included about two miles in Poway and four miles in Rancho Bernardo — all of Poway’s work was done as of this month. Crews were now focused on completing the Rancho Bernardo portion, primarily at the north end of Pomerado Road approaching Highland Valley Road.

By mid-December, nearly 26,000 feet had been dug and over 25,500 feet of pipe installed. The target completion date is Jan. 21, with final paving expected in February, according to Jennifer Ramp, SDG&E’s senior communications manager.

The South Pomerado project, running from Ted Williams Parkway to Scripps Poway Parkway, is scheduled for completion in late February, with final paving scheduled for April 2022. So far, over 6,700 feet have been dug and over 6,300 feet of pipeline installed among its various segments.

Work within Poway on the 3.7-mile Scripps Poway Parkway project (from Pomerado Road to just west of Interstate 15) is being done for the Poway component. However, drivers will still see its impacts for several months, as alternate routes to and from Poway to reach Interstate 15 via Scripps Poway Parkway or Highway 67 are recommended. Work is due to be completed by the end of April, with final paving in May or June 2022.

For more information on the pipeline project, visit

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