Traffic issues expected during Morro Bay Water Reclamation Facility pipeline construction

May 7, 2021

A new water reclamation facility and its pipelines are under construction in Morro Bay. Crews will begin building a new section of the pipelines on Monday, May 10 at Main Street and Quintana Road.

The new facility is replacing Morro Bay’s current wastewater treatment plant and will add a water purification element to provide up to 80% of the city’s water needs.

Pipeline construction for the plant started February 2021 on Quintana Road, moving southeast from La Loma to South Bay Boulevard.

Construction to extend and connect the pipelines begins May 10 at Main Street and Quintana Road. Northbound traffic on Quintana Road will be detoured at Kennedy Way to Dunes Street and Main Street, and Southbound traffic on Quintana Road will remain open.

Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins said progress on the main facility is going well. He said building the pipelines is the next step, but that comes with challenges.

“It’s sort of like the transcontinental railroad system, where you’re starting to build things together to a connecting point,” Collins said. “Naturally, when you’re building a pipeline through the middle of town in one of the core business corridors, there’s trepidation and concern.”

There will be two pipelines: one to move wastewater discharge and one for the purified water. Construction will include trenching, installation, soil filling and transportation, and road restoration.

Paul Amico is the project manager for the pipeline construction. He said businesses, residences and visitors can expect some disturbance in this next phase of construction, but everything will still be accessible.

“It’s going to be challenging. Please be patient with us,” Amico said. “We will continue to communicate the best we can about how the construction is going to progress. But also expect some delays. Expect some disruption because it’s a tight area for them to be working in.”

Construction is scheduled on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Crews are expected to move construction locations along the road every few weeks and then return incrementally until the project’s completion.

The water reclamation facility will cost about $140 million and is funded up front by state and federal loans.

A water and sewer rate increase for Morro Bay residents that went into effect in 2019 will help pay back the loans over the next several decades.

Construction on the project first began in March of 2020 and should be complete by February of 2023.

For more information about the facility, visit the project website.