In a letter published in the June 22 edition (“Caltrans Holds Canyon Road Improvement Plan Hearing”), the writer seems to ask that the town and city council wait for Caltrans to underground utilities along Laguna Canyon Road, as Caltrans now proposes to do on a short (1/2 mile) portion of the road at the El Toro Road intersection and going toward the toll road.
The letter infers that if we were to wait for Caltrans to underground the whole road we could avoid the costs involved.
However the only reason Caltrans is undergrounding any utilities at all is that this is necessary in conjunction with the other work they propose to do for their road safety project. This project would add a short distance of additional lanes at El Toro Road, and also improve the storm drainage there. In order to make these improvements, the existing utility poles must be moved out of the way. Information about this proposed project can be confirmed on the web. Also, Caltrans has previously stated they are not interested in helping the city underground utilities along the entire route. If they were willing to do so, we would not be having this discussion.
The writer also states that since various neighborhoods in Laguna have paid for their own neighborhood undergrounding, the commercial and residential property owners along Laguna Canyon Road should pay for this undergrounding. She neglects to mention however, that unlike the local residential neighborhoods, this road is traveled by Laguna’s residents as well as our visitors in the amount of several thousand vehicles per day.
Further, eliminating the poles will not only improve the safety for all these thousands of vehicles traveling daily, it will also make for a much more beautiful and relaxing drive. It will improve the town’s image for all visitors and for our residents. Take another look the next time you are there.
Ralph Haun, Laguna Beach