Rooftop drive-in (copy)

A blow-up screen on the rooftop parking lot at 2ND&PCH allowed for a series of drive-in movies last summer.

Work has begun to widen the southbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway from Second Street, in front of the 2ND&PCH center in Long Beach.

CenterCal Properties, owners of the retail center, is responsible for the work after receiving a permit from Caltrans (California Department of Transportation), according to Michael Comeaux, Caltrans District 7 public information officer.

2ND&PCH opened in October 2019 after nearly two years of construction on the site of the former SeaPort Marina Hotel. The city's Public Works Department finished a Complete Streets project on Marina Drive south of the center weeks before the opening, and some work was done near the intersection to widen traffic lanes west of the center.

This project was delayed, Comeaux said, because a problematic signal light pole and foundation needed to be moved — something Caltrans wouldn't do at this intersection.

"The existing lane widths in this area of Pacific Coast Highway deviate from Caltrans standards and the existing 5-foot bike lane ends approximately 150 feet before the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and East Second Street," Comeaux wrote in an email. "This deviation is in part due to the existence of a signal pole at the southwest corner of the intersection at East Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1). This signal pole was likely placed in its current location due to conflicts with underground active oil pipelines. Caltrans District 7 staff requested that the developer explore alternatives for the pole relocation."

A new spot that wasn't in conflict with underground infrastructure was found for the signal pole. Moving it will allow for moving the curb line and create a new 6-foot-wide bike lane and widening the three southbound lanes from 11 to 12 feet.

The pole will be moved back behind a planned 11-foot-wide sidewalk. That is possible by using a mast arm (the piece holding the signal lights) at the maximum length, Comeaux said.

No work is planned at any of the other intersection corners. But the corner is only the first of four projects on PCH through this summer, according to John Nahas, president of Southern California CenterCal Properties.

"The improvements under construction were contemplated and approved by CalTrans and the city of Long Beach as part of the original development," Nahas wrote in an email, "and include a signalized intersection on PCH at the southern entrance to the center, a safe crosswalk midblock connecting 2ND & PCH to Marketplace Long Beach, and the completion of widening PCH immediately south of Second Street to accommodate a bike lane and a new bus stop. The predicted duration of the project is four and a half months, with expected completion late August."

Caltrans has another project planned on PCH from Atlantic Avenue east to Second Street that will upgrade storm drains on both sides of the state highway. That project includes everything from upgraded trash screens to stormwater detention basins. Also, more work is scheduled later this year at the Traffic Circle and a left-turn signal project is set for the Atlantic Avenue intersection.

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Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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