Safer scenery?

Written by Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate February 04, 2014 03:00 pm

Supervisors approve plans to improve and widen a stretch of Crescent City’s beach drive

Janet Parker goes off-road to walk her dog inside the guard rail along a narrow stretch of Pebble Beach Drive near Pacific Avenue on Monday.
Janet Parker goes off-road to walk her dog inside the guard rail along a narrow stretch of Pebble Beach Drive near Pacific Avenue on Monday.
A project that will add paved shoulders and sidewalks, improve drainage — and perhaps save pedestrians’ lives — is expected to begin this spring on a mile-long stretch of Pebble Beach Drive.

Del Norte County supervisors approved a $586,361 contract with Tidewater Contractors Inc. last week for the Pebble Beach Drive Safety Project.

The project includes improvements on Pebble Beach Drive from the Crescent City limits at Condor Street northwest to Hemlock Avenue. From there, bicycle/pedestrian lanes have already been built on both sides of the remainder of the road up to Washington Boulevard.

Pebble Beach Drive’s shoulders will be widened to 4-5 feet on both sides and paved, according to a Nov. 12 Board of Supervisors staff memo, but for this stretch they will not include bike lanes.

The road will also be repaved and restriped with 10-foot wide lanes, and drainage infrastructure will be installed to reduce bluff erosion, according to the memo.

The project includes adding 260 feet of sidewalk, curb and gutter at the Pacific Avenue intersection to connect with an existing sidewalk to the south.

“That (project) will be hopefully starting around May first of this year,” said Assistant Engineer Rosanna Bower. “We’ll have shoulders widened and overlay done and Pacific Avenue reconstructed at the intersection.”

Tidewater Contractors submitted the lowest bid out of five contractors who responded.

Ninety percent of the project is being funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program, with 10 percent of the funding coming from the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission’s Regional Surface Transportation Program, according to the county.

The improvements should provide some breathing room along the scenic stretch for pedestrians who can currently find themselves within inches of the side mirrors of passing vehicles.

Janet Parker, a retired schoolteacher, said she walks about a mile and a half from her home near Bess Maxwell Elementary School to Pebble Beach Drive nearly every morning.

“As long as you’re walking toward traffic it’s not a big deal,” Parker said. “If you’re walking the same direction as traffic it doesn’t feel very safe.”

She also pointed out that some parts of the ocean bluff are eroding. There isn’t much room for pedestrians and cars, she said.

The project is expected to last 60 days, according to the county’s staff report.

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