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East 17th Street construction will slow traffic

People driving on East 17th Street in Costa Mesa over the next few months should expect slightly more traffic than usual, city officials said this week.

Construction to add decorative crosswalks, sidewalks, medians and parkway trees has been underway between Santa Ana and Irvine avenues on East 17th Street for the past two weeks, said Raja Sethuraman, transportation services manager.

The goal of the project is to improve the aesthetics and traffic flow on one of the busier streets of the Eastside.

Right-turn lanes at East 17th Street and Tustin Avenue will also be installed in hopes of lessening traffic congestion, according to a city news release.

"It completes the project that was envisioned almost a decade ago," Sethuraman said of the construction.

The work is expected to be completed by late October or early November.

Until then, drivers should expect one-lane closures in each direction during construction hours. All lanes will be open during peak morning and afternoon rush hours.

Major improvements to East 17th Street began in 2006 after the city secured a grant to enhance the area between Orange and Santa Ana avenues.

The public service department recently acquired a $500,000 federal transportation grant to fund improvements to the area. The grants cover the majority of the project, which is estimated to cost about $776,995.

Air Quality Management District money and city traffic-impact fees will fund the rest of the project.

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