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Local News in Brief : Newport Beach : Caltrans Plan to Widen Coast Highway Rejected

The California Coastal Commission has rejected a plan by Caltrans and the city of Newport Beach to widen Coast Highway and build a 10-foot-high masonry wall along the ocean side of the road.

On a 5-5 vote Thursday night, state commissioners turned down the plan to widen the highway from four to six lanes between Newport Boulevard and Highland Avenue in Newport Beach. City officials said the widening was needed to relieve traffic congestion.

At issue, however, was a proposed block and fiberglass wall along the ocean side of the highway, which federal officials say is necessary to reduce traffic noise.

Residents complained that the wall would block their ocean views, limit access to the beach and eliminate the soothing sounds of ocean waves.

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The sound barrier was required by the Federal Highway Administration, which has agreed to finance about 85% of the $8-million project.

City officials said they will modify the plan and resubmit it to the Coastal Commission in April.


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