By Aaron Blevins, 8/23/2012
Although officials stated that the Wilshire Boulevard repaving was to begin at the end of August, the work may begin in September, as no start date has been confirmed to improve the curb lanes on the city’s main artery.
The work will be a prelude to the 2013 Bus Rapid Transit project, which is tentatively scheduled to begin in June 2013 and be completed in 2014.
“If you’ve driven on Wilshire, you know the state of the street,” said Cora Jackson-Fossett, the director of public affairs for the city’s department of public works.
The upcoming project will spend $800,000 to repair Wilshire Boulevard’s curb lanes from Wilton Place to Fairfax Avenue. It will take three to six weeks, and workers will aim to work on weekends and only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week.
The work was announced in mid-July by City Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, who admitted that he would be spending money twice to fix Wilshire Boulevard. He said potholes and overall poor road conditions have made the boulevard the “worst street in our city right now.”
Jackson-Fossett said the city has no plans to close the entire boulevard, and at least one lane will be open when contractors are out. She said the project will be done in phases, and staffers plan to place signage to alert motorists of the construction, and potential detours, at least one week in advance.
“It’s our goal to do it as expeditiously as possible with as little disruption to the public,” Jackson-Fossett added.
The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will create bus-only lanes during peak hours and will reconstruct the boulevard’s curb lanes. While the BRT project and the Wilshire repaving will result in duplicated work, officials don’t believe that the Purple Line subway extension to Westwood will ruin the new curb lanes.
“We realize the frustration citizens feel when they witness [work being duplicated],” Jackson-Fossett said. “We don’t want to see it for another project.”
She said the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transport-ation Authority will work with the city and other agencies to reduce redundancies. Jackson-Fossett stressed that residents with concerns or questions call 311.
“When they share information with us, it helps us plan better … and address their needs,” she added.
Jackson-Fossett said the earliest the city may have a timeline decided for the upcoming repaving would be Monday. She said the department is trying to arrange all the necessary resources to have it completed as quickly as possible.
“We still have to manage the rest of our resurfacing projects through the city,” Jackson-Fossett said. “It’s definitely a high-priority project for us.”