LONG BEACH- Tyler Mooney, 22, shakes his head as he looks at the time on his watch. His shift at Fish Camp starts in 10 minutes and he is currently sitting in traffic on Pacific Coast Highway, in front of the Marina Pacifica Mall. “I am going to be late,” he says to himself, “again.”
For more than a year, construction on the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and 2nd Street has significantly impacted traffic flow and has become a burden on employees’ commute to work in the surrounding restaurants.
“Without construction, it takes me about 15 minutes to get to work,” said Mooney, a server at Fish Camp, “but with the construction I am not able to leave my apartment any less than 30 minutes before my shift. The construction has been going on for so long now, it is frustrating not knowing how much longer my commute will be obstructed.”
The construction project began back in April 2011 and was created to relieve congestion and improve the flow of traffic on the south-band lanes of Pacific Coast Highway. A second left-hand turn lane and a dedicated right-hand turn lane will be installed for vehicles to make turns onto Second Street without slowing down traffic from behind.
An additional sidewalk will also be added to Pacific Coast Highway to provide pedestrian safety.
Due to the construction, the right hand lane of Pacific Coast Highway has been barricaded and closed off, causing vehicles to merge into remaining two lanes. The over flow of traffic caused by this has put a strain on employees of surrounding restaurants who’s routes to work consist of Pacific Coast Highway.
“When construction first started I would sit in traffic everyday driving to work,” said Ashley Boyer, 22, a server at Claim Jumper. “As days and months went by, it seemed like nothing was getting done at the site, so I found a new way to get to work to avoid PCH as much as possible.”
When construction first began it was estimated to last 180 days. Due to multiple complications, the completion of the project has been delayed more than a year.
According to Adam, an official from Third District Councilman Gary Delong’s office, phase 2 of the project has just been completed. This phase involved Southern California Edison and Verizon removing their lines from the new roadway in order to allow construction on a new storm drain system. But due to scheduling on Edison’s side, phase 2 was put on halt for a short time.
“California Edison needed to complete a power switch over and on September 11th that was completed as power in the Marina Pacifica Center was shut off for 12 hours,” said Adam, “but until that happened, minimal work at the site was able to be done, causing a set back on construction.”
In order to minimize the traffic impact on the intersection and the surrounding businesses, the city’s Public Works Department has scheduled construction work hours to occur late at night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Due to these late night hours local residents are not aware that there is any work occurring at the construction site.
“We receive multiple calls a day from concerned residents regarding the construction,” said Adam. “We continuously let them know that the councilman is doing everything he can to get the project completed. He meets with the Public Works Department at least once a week and has put a lot of pressure on Public Works to complete the project.”
According to city officials, now that phase 2 of the project is complete, workers will begin on the final phase, which includes relocating streetlights, traffic signals and installing new curbs, sidewalks and roadway pavements.
Earlier work on the project also included upgrading neighboring businesses’ fire suppression systems, relocating underground utilities to accommodate a new storm drain system, along with upgrading lighting and landscaping.
According to Adam, the project is currently on schedule to be completed Friday, November 9, 2012.
"I'm looking forward to the completion of this project, and the subsequent reduction of traffic at this intersection,” said DeLong, in a written update to residents. "The city will work diligently to minimize the impact to the community as much as possible."
For any updates on this issue, or questions regarding the construction, residents are advised to contact the office of Councilman Gary Delong at 562-570-6300 or at District3@longbeach.gov.
“I am happy that the city is working to make streets and roads in Long Beach better for residents and drivers” said Mooney, “but I think I’ll be even happier when the construction is over.”