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The emergency escape chute (right) at the end of the Santa Monica Pier on Monday. (photo by Brandon Wise)

<i>Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series that tracks the city’s expenditures appearing on upcoming Santa Monica City Council consent agendas. Consent agenda items are routinely passed by the City Council with little or no discussion from elected officials or the public. However, many of the items have been part of public discussion in the past.</i>

DOWNTOWN — If disaster ever strikes the Santa Monica Pier, there should be more than one way out.

That’s because city officials are planning to build a gangway at the west end of the famous pier in case of an emergency.

The City Council is expected to approve a $473,000 contract with URS Corp. to provide design services for the gangway and pier structural upgrade projects, both of which are part of an estimated $1.7 million spending package on the table tonight.

“The emergency gangway would be stored at deck level when not in use and would be used to load evacuees onto waiting vessels in the event of an emergency,” a city staff report said.

The pier will be structurally improved over the surf and tidal zone, which is bordered by the high tide line to the east and low tide to the west, replacing the wooden portion with concrete piles and pile caps, according to the staff report. The upgrade will allow enough capacity for a 20-ton truck, providing sufficient support for emergency vehicle access.

“The use of concrete in this area is recommended because this portion of the pier is over water and concrete will provide higher durability and lower maintenance in the surf zone,” the city staff report said.

Currently the pier has an emergency shoot that looks like a large sock or stocking which people slide through to a waiting vessel.

Transporting prisoners

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is set to receive a new $120,061 contract to continue providing transportation for Santa Monica Police Department prisoners to the Airport Courthouse near LAX.

The sheriff’s department has been transporting prisoners for the SMPD since 2004 and its current agreement will expire at the end of this month. Almost all criminal cases involving suspects arrested by the SMPD are heard at the Airport Courthouse.

City Hall evaluated several different options when the Los Angeles County Superior Court decided to move all criminal cases from the local branch, including transporting prisoners using in-house staff and video-conferencing hearings out of the Public Safety Facility, ultimately seeing the sheriff’s department as the most cost effective option.

Water and sewer main upgrades

The council is expected to hire CSD Engineering to provide design services for a series of water main replacement and upgrade projects.

The $418,000 contract covers water mains at six different locations in the city, all of which are north of the I-10 Freeway. The projects are part of City Hall’s Water Main Replacement Program, which involves changing or upgrading mains based on their age, condition and capacity demands, the city staff report said. The mains covered in this year’s project have been identified as needing the most attention in the water distribution system.

A similar contract to provide design services for the wastewater main replacement and upgrade project will go to Psomas for $594,000. The contract covers roughly 48 different locations or 19,500 linear feet of wastewater mains.

Newspaper legal notice contracts

The Santa Monica Daily Press will continue printing legal notices for City Hall next fiscal year.

City Hall evaluated bids based on several criteria, including delivery methods, circulation and reputation.

Officials anticipate spending between $57,375 to $63,750 next year on legal notices.

More money needed for historic analysis

A slew of some complex matters regarding landmark-designated properties will mean more money for consultant services.

The council will be asked to authorize an additional $24,672 to a contract with PCR Services Corp., which provides independent historic resources analysis. The extra money will be necessary to cover the costs of some extra work that the consultant has taken on, including reviewing tenant improvements to City Hall to be sure it’s in line with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

melodyh@smdp.com