Photo courtesy of APWA
Photo courtesy of APWA Photo courtesy of APWA

Rancho Palos Verdes’ San Ramon Canyon Storm Drain Project was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Small Cities/Rural Communities – Disaster or Emergency Construction Repair category. This award honors agencies representing cities and communities with a population of 75,000 or less. The SC/RC Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in demonstrating creativity, ingenuity and efficiency in the delivery of public works projects that have a profound impact on the community. This year, the team of winners includes the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, as the managing agency; L.H. Woods & Sons, Inc., as the primary contractors; and Harris & Associates, as the primary consultant. These organizations were presented with the award during APWA’s 2014 International Public Works Congress & Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona which was held August 30-September 2, 2015.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories in the Small Cities/Rural Communities area: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures, and Transportation.

The City of Rancho Palos Verdes constructed the San Ramon Canyon Storm Drain as it was urgently needed to manage the stormwater runoff and debris that continuously closed a major thoroughfare into and out of the city. The stormwater events also threatened residents and a mobile home community directly below the street and caused significant erosive impact on the landslide prone canyon walls in the upper section of the canyon.

The San Ramon Canyon Storm Drain Project included the installation of a 4,000 foot-long, 54-inch diameter, thick-walled steel drainage pipe, which ran from the middle of San Ramon Canyon to the ocean. The pipe was installed using several methods including two types of tunneling, and a more traditional “cut and cover” section. Tunneling was the primary construction practice used on over half of the pipe’s alignment to minimize the impact of sound, vibration and dust that might otherwise affect the community adjacent to the construction, as well as the natural preserve areas that surrounded the work. The tunneling work was accomplished using two 37-foot long tunneling machines that were built especially for this complex project. The ventilation, water, power, rail and rib and lag materials had to be advanced behind the machines as part of a complex process.

For more information on the APWA 2015 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.