Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Chronology of Road Re-alignment for LCR

Laguna Canyon Road is once again under city review for a road re-alignment. A potpourri of design features such as 4 vehicular lanes, HOV lanes, bike-lanes, utility undergrounds and three vehicular roundabouts are offered. There's something here for everybody. But what is the objective, moving cars or moving people?  How realistic are the current proposals in view of mitigation between City Council, Caltrans and the Coastal Commission? What follows is a chronology of re-alignment endeavours for Laguna Canyon Road since 1988.

22 August 2014, Putting Brakes on Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Independent. The Laguna Canyon Task Force convenes to review four roadway improvement designs proposed by the retained consulting firm RBF Consulting of Irvine. The design elements include undergrounding electrical utilities, bikepaths and car roundabouts. The project proposed is expected to cost $25 million and require 11 years to complete. 

10 August 2014, Canyon Congestion on the Agenda, Coastline Pilot. The city council, voted unanamously to form a task force that will conduct public meetings to identify ways to ease congestion, decrease police and fire response times , create safe pedestrian and bicycle paths and underground utility poles.

21 August 2013, Widening Project Slated for Laguna Canyon Road, Orange County Register. The County Board of Supervisors awarded a $486,739 contract to Hillcrest Contracting to begin intersection improvements at Laguna Canyon and El Toro roads. The contract is the first of a four-phase project that also will add bike lanes on Laguna Canyon between El Toro and the 73 toll road to connect with existing traffic lanes.

21 August 2013, Irvine Backs LCR Widening, Orange County Register. The Irvine City Council unanimously approved a pair of agreements with the Irvine Community Development Company and Caltrans to add a third lane in each direction on Laguna Canyon Road between the 405 freeway and the future Lake Forest Drive intersection. The plan includes a new signal at Laguna Canyon and the future Lake Forest Drive. 

10 September 2012, Keeping the Country in Country Road, Laguna Independent. The city council set aside $100,000 to improve pedestrian and bicyclist access along Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road but careful not to diminish the country appeal of the existing gateway with curbs and gutters. 

1 May 2012, Caltrans 133 Expansion Scope, Forest Avenue to 73, 405 to 241 exchange. Caltrans interchange expansion plans (completed).

17 January 2011, Beseiged by Rain Fall, Laguna Independent. Maes said each time the canyon road is resurfaced, it adds a few more inches to its run-off height.  “The road is now above our house,” she said. Lack of proper drainage as well as the raised road and new construction inland with inadequate filtration  increases flood potential, she added. The flooding, she said, isn’t just coming from runoff in the canyon; it’s from Laguna Woods and Aliso Viejo as well.

1 January 2010, Irvine Company To Construct 4,450 New Homes In Outer Laguna Canyon, Greenbelt News. The Irvine Company and the City of Irvine are moving forward with plans to construct 4,450 dwelling units on the outer edge of Laguna Canyon. Laguna Canyon Road is currently being widened to 6 lanes to accommodate the new traffic.

21 August 2008, Protections Sought, Coastline Pilot. City officials studying whether to seek designation of Laguna Canyon Road as a state scenic highway. Council votes unanimously to support state senic highway designation.

26 July 2007, City Debates Traffic Causes, Coastline Pilot. The city debates frequent traffic jam on Laguna Canyon Road at El Toro Road due to a private school and design by Caltrans.

27 October 2006, Road to Safety, Coastline Pilot. A ribbon-cutting brings closure to long-planned Laguna Canyon Road realignment which realigned 3.9 miles of the highway from the toll road to I-4-5, added another lane in each direction (north- and south-bound lanes to be separated by landscaping), on-road bike lanes, an improved the entrance to Nix Nature Center.

25 December 2005,  Laguna Canyon Road Project, Coastline Pilot. The four-mile project will expand the roadway to two lanes in each direction, divided by a median that separates the north- and southbound lanes by landscaping and elevation and moves the road west, away from two natural lakes. A committee was charged with reaching a consensus to reduce objections by Laguna Beach environmentalists. Safety and flooding was a concern that motivated participants. Meetings on the project were conducted privately generating criticism the State Brown Act was violated. "We can't tell how the road will work until it's completed," said Laguna Canyon Conservancy President Carolyn Wood, who served on the consensus committee. "Hopefully, by the time it gets done, it will do what is supposed to and reduce accidents."

26 April 2002, Board OK's Plans to Move Canyon Road Utilities Underground, Coastline Pilot.  The county will pay almost $4 million to bury utility lines when widening begins on Laguna Canyon Road between El Toro and the 73.  The state's Public Utilities Commission (the board) requires utility lines to be buried at the time of road construction for a county improvement project. The board identified the Laguna Canyon project as its No. 1 priority

22 May 1988, Widening Laguna Canyon Road, Los Angeles Times. With over 900 accidents 30 deaths over five years and threat from multimillion-dollar suits beyond the current 30 pending litigations, the state considers removing highway status from Laguna Canyon Road making it a LB city owned street. The state title would be removed from El Toro Road to the village. 

26 February 1988, Coastal Commission again Rejects Caltrans Plan to Widen Canyon, Laguna Coastline. Following nine years of planning proposals the California Coastal Commission puts the kibosh on a Caltrans plan to widen Laguna Canyon Road at Big Bend.

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