Moraga Utility Crews to Replace Temporary Fixes Used Since Sinkhole Formed Last Month

Utility crews are working to replace temporary service solutions necessitated by a sinkhole that appeared in Moraga last month, town officials said Friday.

PG&E crews are halfway through an effort that began on April 8 to replace gas service pipes affected by Moraga's sinkhole, which will be followed by the installation of new electric service lines.

The work represents steps to returning to normalcy after a damaging sinkhole formed on March 13 at Rheem Boulevard and Center Street.

Fully repairing the site is expected to cost the town around $3.5 million, which town officials have said is "far beyond" what Moraga can afford.

When the sinkhole originally appeared, PG&E pulled resources to restore gas service to businesses that lost it after a traffic signal pole fell into the opening in the Moraga road and ruptured a gas line.

Now PG&E crews are replacing the equipment, as the summer's increased service demand would not be supported by the interim measures, town officials said.

Temporary gas units in the Rheem Center parking lot are expected to be removed by PG&E by April 22, according to the town.

After that, PG&E will restore power to the town's traffic signal at Moraga Road and Rheem Boulevard, which has been running on a generator since the sinkhole formed.

That intersection has been closed and motorists have had to rely on detours around the main thoroughfare. A detour plan is being added to Moraga's website, according to town officials.

Despite the road closure, businesses in the area remained open. Signs notifying residents of this are being added this week, town officials said.

Meanwhile, town officials said crews are conducting a forensic study on the sinkhole to determine its cause and analyze possible approaches to repairs.

Findings will be presented to Moraga's Town Council on April 27. Moraga is still looking to the state for assistance in paying for what could be a costly repair.

Town officials wrote a letter on March 29 to Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's Office of Emergency Services requesting financial disaster assistance. Other local elected officials also wrote in support of the request.

The state's Office of Emergency Services responded, stating intentions to send a representative to investigate the sinkhole.

Town officials said state programs meant to assist the businesses that have been adversely affected by the sinkhole are also being explored.

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