Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich

AV Press: Storm drain done; 50th West now open

AV Press: Storm drain done; 50th West now open

QUARTZ HILL – With the multi-million-dollar Quartz Hill storm drain fully operational and final road improvements being completed, 50th Street West is now open, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich announced Thursday.

“Residents and business owners of the Quartz Hill community have patiently waited through 11 months of construction for the completion of this vital project,” Antonovich said. “Just in time for holiday shopping, and with the rainy season under way, this $15.8 million project will provide much-needed flood relief along Quartz Hill’s busy downtown main corridor.”

The repaved street was still waiting Thursday for the completion of lane stripes. Rain fell Thursday on the Antelope Valley, but not enough to test the drain, which was installed to control the storm runoff that for decades regularly filled Quartz Hill streets and sometimes flooded homes and businesses.

The new underground storm drain system runs for more than two miles along 50th Street West between avenues K and M-8. An additional mile of lateral storm drains ties into the main drain from several connecting side streets, officials said.

During the construction, which officially started Jan. 30, officials pledged to cooperate with residents and businesspeople to keep access open to homes and businesses, but businesspeople complained that the torn-up streets were a disruption and took too long to fix.

The project was originally scheduled to take 39 weeks, but it has gone about seven weeks past that.

Similar but larger than past flood-control proposals for the area, the project installed a concrete pipe more than seven feet in diameter beneath 50th Street West, extending north to Avenue K to join an existing eight-foot-diameter Lancaster drain, records show.

The work included resurfacing streets and constructing wheelchair ramps through curbs to comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act access laws, county officials said.

The money for building the drains comes from Los Angeles County’s Utility User Tax, which was 5% before 2008 and 4.5% after a 2008 vote on electric bills, gas bills and communication bills paid by residents of unincorporated communities, such as Quartz Hill.

Sued over the tax, Los Angeles County reached a settlement in 2009, freeing up $180.6 million county officials had set aside in case they had to repay the money. The funds, which must be expended on projects in unincorporated communities, were divided by the supervisorial district based upon the communities’ populations.

County road funds will pay for repaving the streets after the drains are installed, officials say.