On the north side of Avenue 17 of Madera County, two major construction projects have been going on. Right off Road 26, the new Madera Valley Water (MVW) tower is being erected, soon to rise to a height of 160 feet with a capacity of 1.5 million gallons of sumptuous water. Actual construction began this past April with an up-and-running projected date of completion set for January or February of 2019… at the latest. This is less than one year for this major project for the stockholders (residents) of MVW to be completed. This is simply amazing!
The other project is the High Speed Rail (HSR) overpass being constructed at a snail’s pace on Road 27. Along with Road 26, this is the only alternate vehicle arterial to the Country Club residential area.
The HSR has been plagued with broken promises to the people of the San Joaquin Valley when it comes to calendar and financial projections. The HSR promised to have this overpass operational by October of 2017, having started the work in October of 2016. You might have heard the expression, “This is taking forever to get this done.” Well, it appropriately applies to the HSR.
The HSR is a government project, run out of Sacramento, using the money of taxpayers, where the loose spending of other people’s money is no obstacle. This is just a small peek at socialism, or may I say Marxist government and economics. Take a drive out on Road 27 and you will see that the incomplete overpass spans or non-existent approaches are just a figment of imaginations. There is regular time, and then there is HSR time when it comes to work and efficiency.
Now here is the real problem. The responsibility of moving all utilities that must be moved for the HSR belongs to the HSR. Simple enough? Wrong! MVW contacted the HSR more than five and a half years ago to inform the HSR regarding the location of MVW’s needs in this regard, including the moving of the 16-inch water main that goes right under the overpass being constructed, and then to the new water tank. This is the line that will be used nightly to keep the tank at a functional level.
The HSR repeatedly assured MVW that this relocation would not be a problem whatsoever, and that there would be minimal impact upon MVW’s operations, and no cost to the company, which is owned and funded by the MVW shareholders. Hundreds of hours of staff time, along with substantial legal and engineering costs have been incurred by MVW as the High Speed Rail Authority still has not devised and instituted a workable plan of relocating the main water line to the new water tower.
It is prohibitive that this water line remains in the location under the overpass and its two abutments from the north and south.
Various proposed methods of moving this water line during the five plus years have all been thwarted or abandoned. Some were incompatible with environmental regulations, although the HSR has had plenty of time to work with the state to amend some of these stipulations.
Remember, “This is a state project, by the state, for the state, controlled by the state at the expense and consternation of the people.” The HSR has tried to shift the responsibility of the closure of Road 27 to MVW. The HSR began construction of this supposed “one year overpass” without a finalized plan for the relocation of the affected facilities. To this day, the HSR still does not have a plan and any specifications necessary to effect the relocation of the water main. Without such an agreed-upon plan, the completion of the HSR overpass project is a moot point, while at the same time causing a potential delay of the finalization and use of the water tower.
The people of the Madera Valley Water District call upon the HSR to fulfill at least one promise in this stalemate, and set forth a worthy and acceptable plan immediately. The people in Madera are bound by time, and it is the responsibility of the HSR to stop the river of broken promises and inefficiency and to also operate on a time line and not one of eternity. HSR, Fulfill your promise!
— The Rev. Randy Brannon,