Undergrounding the remaining overhead utilities along Pacific Coast Highway might be in the future after the Hermosa Beach Beach City Council at its Tuesday meeting voted unanimously to begin forming an underground utility.
According to Public Works Director Glen Kau, Southern California Edison has estimated the cost at $1.82 million to underground between Artesia Boulevard, to just south of Aviation Boulevard.
The city is currently short about $1 million to pay for the project, but they hope to find supplemental funding sources to complete the undergrounding before Caltrans starts its Capital Preventive Maintenance project to resurface PCH from El Segundo to Carson. That $60 million project, according to Kau, will begin late 2021 or early 2022.
“The opportunity exists for most if not all the cities along the corridor to get improvements completed … that would affect the pavement to get done in advance of that paving,” Kau said.
While the city will look at all avenues to fund the project, according to City Manager Sergio Gonzalez, Mayor Jeff Duclos and Councilmember Hany Fangary wondered how property owners can contribute to the project. Duclos said that business corridor is the most profitable in the city, but also the most neglected when it comes to improvements.
“It would be interesting to see if there’s some other mechanism we can use to get the property owners of those businesses along PCH to participate in the project financially to some degree given the fact they receive a really great benefit for doing this … this is something that will pay dividends well into the future,” Duclos said.
Kua said the project will allow PCH to be more pedestrian friendly by increasing the width of sidewalks, providing a wider buffer distance between the pedestrians and traffic. Other potential improvements include beautifying the corridor with median landscaping, as well as better coordinated and synchronized traffic lights.