Sound buffer wall, road improvements on track

Work on adding a wall and landscaping along Beach Boulevard and improving a parallel frontage road is on track to be done on time in November, according to Duane Wentworth, city project manager.

Workers are erecting a mostly decorative 800-foot-long wall on the island between Beach and the frontage road between Taylor and Sterling avenue. The wall may also muffle traffic noise.

"As big and as thick as it is, it's more for sound and beautification," Project Inspector Donn Strook said.

The wall at its highest is 8 feet tall but will be lower in spots to make it easier for pedestrians and drivers to see each other.

"There have been a lot of accidents for starters," he said, referring to where Beach Boulevard meets the frontage road.

Sidewalks on the frontage road next to the wall will also make it safer for pedestrians, Strook said.

The wall isn't designed as a sound wall, although Wentworth thinks it will help in doing that.

"It's a project to dress up that particular stretch, which is kind of unsightly near the housing tract," Strook said.

The project's contractor, 4-Con Engineering, bid nearly $1 million to do the work. The city has budgeted about $1.1 million. Caltrans will contribute $500,000, with the city prepared to spend up to $655,000 if there are cost overruns.

The frontage road and Taylor and Sterling where they intersect with the road are getting new curbs and gutters, sidewalks and access ramps.

City workers have closed the slow lane on northbound Beach Boulevard to construct a bus turnout and relocate a water main underneath. It will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through mid-October. Orange pylons to protect workers digging the trench for the wall remain.

Work on the project's design began in 2003.

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