OCEANSIDE — The much-anticipated Mission Avenue gateway project began construction a block south of Mission Avenue on Seagaze Drive.
Road striping on Seagaze Drive took place Oct. 24 and Oct. 25. The road reopened the afternoon of Oct. 25 with eastbound, one-way signage in place.
The completed gateway project will change downtown Mission Avenue from a two-way roadway into a westbound one-way street with widened sidewalks, outdoor benches, marked crosswalks and enhanced landscaping.
Street and sidewalk improvements to the downtown gateway are anticipated to increase pedestrian and bicycle traffic and spawn new businesses.
“Business owners are 100 percent behind the project,” Nathan Mertz, project manager from the city engineer division, said. “It’s a dated roadway. We’re bringing it up to date.”
Businesses will remain open during the eight months of roadwork. Parking and alleyways will be closed in some areas during construction. To alleviate temporary parking loss, two-hour parking limit signs will be removed in impacted areas.
The city, Visit Oceanside visitors’ center and MainStreet Oceanside downtown business organization have been busy notifying area residents and businesses about project construction dates through mail, online posts and door flyers since early September.
“We’ve been walking the neighborhood and passing out door hangers on the upcoming project to get the word out,” Mertz said.
Mission Avenue will remain a two-way street through Nov. 12. Then the two-day process of road striping will be completed on Mission Avenue.
Due to the heavy traffic on Mission Avenue traffic control barriers will be set up to detour vehicles around construction.
“For anybody headed westbound on Mission there won’t be a change,” Mertz said. “A lot of additional signage will be in place when it happens on Nov. 12.”
Following one-way striping on Mission Avenue, roadway construction will begin on the north side of Mission Avenue beginning at Clementine Street and progress down the road in two-block sections.
Once roadwork is completed to Coast Highway, road and sidewalk improvements will continue up the south side of Mission Avenue back to Clementine Street.
“Right after Nov. 12 you’ll see jackhammers demolish sidewalks and roadways,” Mertz said.
The Mission Avenue gateway project was approved in 2011, but hit a funding snag in June of that year when Gov. Jerry Brown dissolved city redevelopment agencies. This held up project funds.
Oceanside was awarded a $1.5 million SANDAG Active Transportation Grant this April, which secured the final funds needed to construct the $3 million project.
Mertz said once funds were secured the city took extra care to find a contractor who had experience building in an urban area.
Constructing street and sidewalk improvements in phases should alleviate some of the inconvenience. Communication between the contractor, city and businesses will also help things run smoothly.
“Construction always has inconvenience,” Mertz said. “The contractor has experience and in-depth knowledge to address business issues.”
The gateway project is expected to be completed in June 2014.