Popular scenic drive is revamped and open for travel along Crescent City’s shore
Freshly installed smooth asphalt, bright road stripes and wide shoulders on the county’s stretch of Pebble Beach Drive for pedestrian, bike, skateboard, dog-with-human, mom-with-stroller and all other forms of non-vehicular traffic was opened to the public on July 3, just in time for Crescent City’s Fourth of July festivities.
“It’s the first time I felt safe riding here on a bike,” said 80-year-old Terry Torngren, donning his Korean War veteran cap and clocking 25 miles on his bicycle on Tuesday alone. Torngren, who lives in Redding but has been spending summers in Crescent City for 17 years, said he’s happy he can now feel “safe on the streets.”
Del Norte County engineer Jim Barnts said there is still some signage and other smaller tasks to be completed for the $586,000 project, but the surface work is done and there will no longer be any ongoing traffic control.
Scenic cruises on the way back home or just for kicks on Pebble Beach Drive had been confined to one-lane traffic since May, and the project was expected to last through August. But when Tidewater Contractors of Brookings started thinking they could get the road open by the Fourth, they went hard for the final stretch, Barnts said. The county was also willing to pay overtime to make it happen.
“Tidewater Contractors has done an excellent job, and they are the ones that went ahead and made the push to get it open; it was for the public good,” Barnts said.
“It’s really nice compared to what it was,” said Terry Linzy, a Capay resident who rides his bicycle everywhere he can, with lots of mileage on Pebble Beach, while he is staying at his vacation home in Crescent City. “It’s nice riding now.”
Taelor Lott recently moved to Crescent City and uses Pebble Beach Drive daily to visit the beach.
“With both of the shoulders much wider, you don’t feel like you have to walk in the ditch anymore,” Lott said.
Car traffic is likely to be more cautious and obey the speed limit now that the lanes are only 10 feet wide compared to the 12–14 feet they were before, Barnts said.
The project’s completion means the entire road will be friendlier to pedestrian and bike traffic. Bike lane improvements and newer asphalt had already been installed on the county stretch of Pebble Beach Drive north of Hemlock Avenue, mainly in front of McNamara Ranch. Within Crescent City limits, the route had already received bike lanes and raised sidewalks in some stretches.
Some of the improvements to Pebble Beach Drive are also expected to slow erosion of the coastal bluff beneath the road. Rainwater had poured off Pebble Beach Drive directly onto the bluff, creating erosion problems up and down the route, but curbs were installed as part of the recent project to direct water into a collection system and divert it to the beach.
Barnts said it will be “hard to fix that bluff,” but the drainage improvements will allow the county to concentrate erosion-prevention efforts on the few spots were water is diverted.
“If the water is going over the bluff all up and down the road, you can’t really do anything,” Barnts said.
Ninety percent of the project is being funded through the Caltrans-administered federal Highway Safety Improvement Program, with the remaining 10 percent coming from the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission’s Regional Surface Transportation Program.