PACIFIC PALISADES—During a Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) meeting on September 24, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) gave a presentation on the status of the proposed 220 poles replacement project from upper Temescal Gateway Park to Mulholland Dr./Encino. 

The project was initially proposed early 2019, and had the goal of replacing 220 wooden poles that “are now past their useful service life,” the LADWP said at the time. 

“This project will help ensure power reliability and safety, while helping reduce wildfire threats,” the LADWP said in an August 2019 statement. “These wooden poles were installed between 1933-1955… and have been identified as potential fire hazards and will be replaced with steel poles.”

LADWP told the PPCC that this pole line is one of two transmission lines providing power to Pacific Palisades — the other line runs westward from points east along Sunset Boulevard to the Palisades. LADWP said that “if either line goes down, the entire Palisades will lose power.”

Area (in red) of the proposed pole replacement project. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The new steel poles are 50-65 feet tall, LADWP said. Helicopters will be used to transport the new poles to each location.

The project was put on hold after community concerns about protected plants in the construction area arose. The risk is related to possible harm to a federally-listed endangered plant species called Braunton’s Milkvetch, also colloquially known as “Locoweed” — the species exists only in the Santa Monica Mountains and a few other Southern California hillsides, according to the PPCC.

The PPCC said that “LADWP is working with the agencies that have jurisdiction in the area, including the California Coastal Commission (CCC), to draft a plan to mitigate harm from the construction to the endangered ‘Braunton’s Millkvetch’ plant.”

The LADWP is preparing a plan to present to the CCC during a virtual meeting in November. While the PPCC Board took no action after the presentation last week, it will will await further word on the status of the required environmental mitigation prior to the CCC hearing.