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By Collin Breaux

Featured image: Street pavement improvements are scheduled for Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano this year, spanning from the Dana Point to Laguna Niguel city limits. Photo: Collin Breaux

A portion of Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano—stretching from the southern city limits near Dana Point to the northern limits at Laguna Niguel—will undergo long-awaited street rehabilitation work expected to begin in September and wrap up before the end of this year.

As part of facilitating the project, the City Council approved awarding a construction contract to R.J. Noble Company during a meeting on Tuesday, June 21. R.J. Noble was the lowest bidder at $7.4 million and has previously handled other pavement projects, including in the Meredith Canyon neighborhood.

“The Camino Capistrano Pavement Rehabilitation Project will be resurfacing approximately 2½  miles of Camino Capistrano from the northern units to the southerly units,” City Engineer Joe Parco said during a presentation to the council. “The project will also include sections of Stonehill Drive between Camino Capistrano and the Dana Point border, Avenida Aeropuerto between Camino Capistrano and the railroad track, and Ortega Highway between Camino Capistrano and El Camino Real.”

Construction work will be done at night in order to mitigate traffic impact on the “heavily traveled traffic area on the southerly part of the city and in the downtown area,” according to Parco.

The Camino Capistrano project is the starting point for an ambitious and long-term plan by the city to upgrade local streets following years of neglected maintenance, which is said to be attributed to a lack of available funds. Recent federal funding obtained as part of intended COVID-19 pandemic mitigation will go toward overall street rehabilitation goals, which is scheduled in phases throughout the city for the coming years.

A lack of street maintenance has previously been a sore spot for some residents and city officials. Mayor Pro Tem Howard Hart, in particular, has advocated for more street maintenance and called it the “blocking and tackling” of local government, using a football metaphor to emphasize its importance.

“The project scope of work generally includes the removal of existing failed pavement and construction of new pavement surface,” an agenda report said of the Camino Capistrano project. “The project entails grading, excavation, saw-cutting, milling of existing street asphalt concrete pavement, reconstruction of existing non-compliant ramps, removal and replacement of damaged curb, gutter and sidewalk, signing and striping, and adjustment of existing manholes, pull boxes and valve covers, to match the new pavement surface grade.”

Pavement rehabilitation of the section of Camino Capistrano located between Junipero Serra Road and the Trabuco Creek Bridge will be done under a separate contract since it is funded by a combination of federal funds in the amount of $200,000 and local funds in the amount of $400,000, the report said.

City staff reportedly anticipates returning to the City Council for approval of that construction contract in October since they are currently finalizing preparation of required documents for submittal to Caltrans in order to secure authorization, due to federally funded projects requiring Caltrans approval.

Based on the bid amount from R.J. Noble, staff anticipates project savings which will go toward pavement rehabilitation efforts for San Juan Creek Road (immediately east of Camino Capistrano to Valle Road) and potential segments of Valle Road, the report said.

“The portion of Camino Capistrano between La Zanja Street and Oso Road was rehabilitated in summer 2016,” the report said. “This section of roadway is currently in very good condition and will not require preventative maintenance or pavement rehabilitation efforts for several years.”

Councilmembers did not extensively comment on the contract or project at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Great job, and the numbers look really good,” Reeve said to Parco. “We’re really excited. We’re looking forward to it.”

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com.

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