On Thursday afternoon, May 20, we were among the unlucky residents who got caught in the debacle caused by Caltrans work on PCH between Blue Lagoon and Vista del Sol. We were headed south to San Juan to a gathering of 12 friends we hadn’t seen in over a year because of COVID-19.
At 2:33 p.m. we received a NIXLE alert stating a 45-minute delay southbound on PCH. Since we simultaneously received another NIXLE alert that the Canyon was also heavily backed up, we had no choice but to use PCH. We left at 3:15 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than planned, knowing we would be late for the event, but it was still doable, even with the 45-minute delay. It took us an hour and a half to go three miles! Hardly a 45-minute backup.
Ours was a social event and, of course, we canceled, turned around and came home. However, I wonder what happened to the person in that ambulance as the driver tried to inch his way down PCH. Did he make it to the hospital in time?
Returning home, I called the police department to inquire about the construction thinking it must have been an emergency repair. I was told that Caltrans was “grinding pavement” and would be doing the same thing on May 24. Not being an emergency, could this construction have been done at night when traffic is lighter? Or worked into two half-day projects at off times? I was also told that Caltrans owns the roads and Laguna has no jurisdiction. Couldn’t Laguna Beach have put some pressure on them to avoid such an outrageous and unnecessary disruption?
Caltrans seems irresponsible and out of control with no concern for the public which provides its funding. If these are my tax dollars at work, I’d rather have the money!
Rosanne Beam, Laguna Beach