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Pacific Coast Highway improvements coming to Huntington Beach

Runners from the half marathon race and 5K race run along Pacific Coast Highway during the annual Surf City USA Marathon.
Runners from the half marathon race and 5K race run along Pacific Coast Highway during the annual Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington Beach in February. Caltrans is planning upcoming improvements on PCH in Surf City, one of several projects approved in Orange County after the California Transportation Commission allocated $700 million in May to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state.
(James Carbone)

Huntington Beach draws about 11 million visitors each year.

It only seems like they’re all at Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street at any given moment.

Caltrans is planning upcoming improvements on PCH in Surf City, one of several projects approved in Orange County after the California Transportation Commission allocated $700 million in May to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state. More than a third of the funding comes from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

The improvements seek to make the area more bike and pedestrian friendly, while also improving overall safety. Construction is set to begin in January 2025, Caltrans District 12 Public Information Officer Raquel Ortiz said in an email.

Caltrans officials said the $14.8-million project in Huntington Beach will add several upgrades on PCH, including rehabilitating pavement, replacing traffic loop detectors and guardrails, adding Class II bike lanes and upgrading facilities to Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The traffic loop detectors are embedded in the street to indicate to a traffic signal that a vehicle is waiting.

In other areas, a Class III bike lane will be accessible, Ortiz said. This means that bicyclists will need to share the road with motorists. Signs will be placed along SR-1 making travelers aware.

About 90% of the $40 million allocated to Orange County will be dedicated to improvements along PCH. Additionally, $21.2 million is allocated for two projects in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach for improvements including replacing traffic signals, upgrading the concrete barrier and making pedestrian and bicycle upgrades and intersections and crosswalks.

Huntington Beach public affairs manager Jennifer Carey said the city is working to get preliminary plans from Caltrans.

“We’re still pretty early on in working with Caltrans in the improvement process,” she said. “It’s a significant investment in Huntington — I mean, that’s a substantial amount of money. But we don’t have a lot of information, at least at this point, as to where exactly these improvements are being made.”

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