On December 15 utility crews completed the final removal of surplus utility poles and wires along the popular Tunnel Road Hiking Trail in upper Mission Canyon. This action was the product of several years of advocacy by Friends of Mission Canyon.
“The hiking public will immediately notice a different look and feel for the lower section of Tunnel Trail” explained Marc Chytilo, counsel to the community group Friends of Mission Canyon. “The removal of the overhead wires and eight telephone poles from just north of the trailhead to the bridge opens up views for hikers and eliminates a significant fire hazard.”
Several years ago FOMC developed the technical and policy justification for removal of the electrical service in upper Mission Canyon, which served a telemetry station for a part of the city’s water system. In 2019, after FOMC’s repeated requests, the City agreed to use other methods to manage these facilities and notified SCE that it no longer needed the electrical service. The wire and pole removal occurred over a week and was completed on December 15, 2020.
“Residents of Mission Canyon are grateful the City agreed to terminate this service and seek removal of the overhead infrastructure” explained David Lebell, President of the community group Friends of Mission Canyon.
“This project is unrelated to SCE’s unpermitted December 2019 grading project, which caused significant impacts to the trail and throughout upper Mission Canyon” explained Chytilo. “SCE is under orders to restore the habitat it impacted and remediate all the damage it caused by pushing debris off the road and into Mission Creek. SCE will also need to mitigate for impacts from trail closures, scarred cliffs and hillsides and increased fire risks.. President Lebell continued: “We have asked SCE to move additional utilities underground in the upper canyon to reduce fire hazards and compensate for the visual impacts from their grading. The Tunnel Trail project demonstrates the benefits of removing overhead utilities in highly scenic and fire-prone areas.”