Caltrans suspended the Pacific Coast Highway resurfacing project in Laguna Beach until the weather warms up in early March.
The project was supposed to be finished before the holidays, hopefully in November, Caltrans spokeswoman Tracy Lavelle told the City Council at the July 21 meeting.
“Don’t be here in December," Mayor Pro Tem Toni Iseman advised. “Our businesses will go crazy."
The holidays are the merchants’ second biggest season.
Lavelle assured the council that Caltrans was mindful of the impacts of the project on the city.
But not so mindful about another project permitted by them that stifled traffic on the highway last week. At one point traffic was at a dead stop, Iseman said.
""We need to sensitize Caltrans to our holiday season and how projects affect our businesses," Mayor Elizabeth Pearson said.
And while the highway resurfacing project has been put on hold until the early spring, it was not out of consideration for Laguna’s businesses or residents.
Caltrans attributed the suspension to expected cold and wet weather during the winter months.
According to a Caltrans news release, the slurry seal material for the resurfacing requires specific temperatures for an effective application and cold weather makes it impossible to produce a quality result.
When work resumes, the entire highway from Vista del Sol to Aster Street will get another slurry coat. In the meantime, temporary striping will be installed for safety, the work to be done from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m, until after Jan. 1, at the request of the city.
The resurfacing project began in the fall. Caltrans told city officials that a project would not ordinarily have been started so close to the holiday season, but an immediate start was a condition of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the $1.8-million project.
The project will dramatically improve road conditions and reduce noise, Lavelle said.
Comments or questions about the project may be directed to the Caltrans Public Information office at (949) 724-2644 or (949) 724-2000.
Caltrans offices will be closed the first, second and third Fridays of each month through June.