The county has awarded the Steve Bubalo Construction Co. an $8.7-million contract to build storm drains, repair sewers and repave streets along 3rd Street and other thoroughfares in the Fairfax District.
The work, which is expected to be completed in 1987, is part of a 20-year project to rebuild the underground system that drains much of the Westside.
Bubalo Construction, the lowest of four bidders, also worked on a stretch of the project along Beverly Boulevard that was completed ahead of schedule last year.
The $8,698,048.54 contract includes a bonus of $3,000 a day for early completion and a similar penalty for finishing after the 15-month deadline. A similar provision won Bubalo half a million dollars when he completed the Beverly Boulevard project ahead of schedule last year.
The new contract is one of the largest let by the county Public Works Department this year, and the largest ever undertaken by Bubalo, a Yugoslav immigrant whose firm is based Woodland Hills.
"It's a tough job, but I think I'm going to complete it on time anyway," Bubalo said.
He said the work will be more difficult than it was last year because the conduit will be deeper below the surface and there is likely to be more water in the ground. Also, the streets involved this time are narrower than Beverly Boulevard.
Bubalo said he expects work to begin on Orange Grove Avenue at the end of February. About 50 workers and as many as 30 pieces of heavy equipment will be involved by the time the work is done.
On High School Campus
Plans call for installation of 6,900 feet of concrete conduit under 3rd Street, with extensions to Stanley, Rosewood and Orange Grove avenues and across the southwest corner of the Fairfax High School campus and up Fairfax Avenue.
The three separate legs will drain into the retention basin at Pan Pacific Park when unusually large storms hit the region.
Funded by a 1970 bond issue, the project is intended to upgrade an existing 40-year-old system.
According to Roger Berger, head of program development for the public works department, the massive scale of the project rules out the use of pipe.
Streets to Be Closed
Instead, workers will build a hollow structure of reinforced concrete, 11 feet high and 9 feet wide, to carry the waters underground. They will then rebuild the streets above.
Construction will be carried out in four phases, beginning within two months. Some of the side streets will be closed for weeks at a time, but at least two lanes of 3rd Street are expected to remain open at all times.
"During the rush hour there will probably be increased congestion, but we find that after the first day when motorists see congestion they'll find other ways to get to work," Berger said.
The contract calls for a moratorium on construction on 3rd Street from Nov. 15 through the end of the year, in order to minimize disruption during the peak shopping season.
Plans call for the major east-west artery to be widened from Stanley to Laurel avenues once the storm drain is in place.
"Construction of this system will reduce flooding in the Fairfax area neighborhood, relieve existing storm drains and ensure minimum disruption to the public by providing for street and sewer work to be completed with the storm drains," Supervisor Ed Edelman said.
The project has been coordinated with the city of Los Angeles, which is allocating $168,000 for sewer work and additional federal funds for street improvements.
There will be a temporary parking site for residents whose streets will be torn up by construction, a tram service from the parking lot to their homes and security guards to patrol the area.