Regarding the Phillips 66 proposal, the eminent domain of public safety and security is paramount and demands complete information.
My particular concern is the safety of the Stenner Creek railroad bridge. The bridge was built approximately 130 years ago. It is located next to and above San Luis Obispo’s water treatment plant at the paved end of Stenner Creek Road. The Nacimiento Pipeline enters the plant at this location.
The bridge is more than 100 feet high at its center span. If for any reason the bridge or its tracks were to fail, the massive tanker cars would fall 100 feet and would cause an explosion that would be catastrophic.
In my opinion, it would kill many people and likely destroy the city’s water treatment plant, which serves many thousands of people.
If they have not already done so, Phillips 66 and Union Pacific Railroad must submit documents to the county of San Luis Obispo for review by independent engineers.
These should include:
▪ As-built drawings
▪ Specifications of materials used
▪ Loads (weights) used for cars and engines
▪ Design calculations with factors of safety used
▪ All inspection and maintenance reports
If for any reason Union Pacific and Phillips decline the submittal, I would recommend rejection of the proposal, because the bridge cannot be independently evaluated
John W. Edmisten, San Luis Obispo
Editor’s note: John W. Edmisten is an emeritus professor of architectural engineering at Cal Poly.