By Ashley Mackin
The lighted crosswalks on La Jolla Boulevard will get much-needed repairs beginning in early March, but not all residents are happy with the plans since construction will start at 9 p.m. each day. That’s some very noisy construction going on all through the night, which has some residents concerned about their ability to sleep.
Notices distributed throughout the neighborhood indicate workers will be trenching and installing new crosswalks from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the roundabouts on La Jolla Boulevard at Colima and Midway streets, through early April.
The scope of work involved includes replacing crumbling pavement, trenching, relocating some lights and installing new electrical wiring. Detours will be established during construction and traffic will be unaffected during the day.
Fernando Lasaga, associate traffic engineer for the City of San Diego, said the work has to be done at night to avoid traffic issues.
“During the day, there is a lot of traffic going back and forth, and there is only one lane on La Jolla Boulevard now, especially at the lighted crosswalk locations,” he said. “If we were to close down the lanes, then we would have to reroute traffic along the parallel residential streets and we did not want to do that.”
But the stated six weeks of night construction is a worst-case scenario, Lasaga said, adding actual construction time would likely be less. Updated information submitted by San Diego Public Works list the start date as "early March" and completion in "early April," weather permitting and barring any unforeseen circumstances. It also states "the construction activities that generate noise will be limited to the hours of 9 p.m. – 11 p.m." and that Public Works estimates one week of night time construction at each roundabout.
“The contractor was covering all his bases, he put (a six-week timeline out) just in case, because weather conditions can change. So this is almost a worst-case scenario of how long it will take and we’re trying to work on a more probable schedule,” Lasaga said.
That detailed schedule is exactly what some residents want, including Vivian Fung, who lives in the apartment complex on La Jolla Boulevard at Colima Street. “The main concern right now is that we need to know more about the plan as far as construction,” she said. “Ideally, all of the really loud jackhammering would take place before 11 p.m., before most people go to sleep.” She added traffic slows down around 7 p.m.
Across the street from Fung’s residence is the Sands of La Jolla Hotel, where employee Jason Nazarro echoed her concerns.
“I’m pretty sure there will be an impact, but I’m not sure what we can do,” he said. “The last time (there was construction), it was very difficult for people staying in the area and a lot of people were upset. ... This time, I’m sure we will lose business.”
Fung said she contacted Bird Rock Community Council president Jacqueline Bell and learned the construction is part of a four-year improvement project the city has been working on to fix the crosswalks.
To do so, the city has to assign permits to override the San Diego Noise Ordinance, which prohibits construction noise after 7 p.m., temporarily.
“If the community wants to have us consider an alternate time earlier in the evening to begin some of that ‘night work,’ we’re definitely open to that,” Lasaga said. For more information, call (619) 533-4207.