The Cambrian

Drivers still frustrated by construction traffic ‘mess’ on Hwy. 1 near Cambria

Traffic was again backed up in various construction-zone areas along Highway 1 between Cambria and Harmony last week for longer than drivers — or Caltrans — had the patience to tolerate.

“I know we had a mess again,” Resident Engineer Rick Silva said in a series of email interviews referring to particular bad traffic July 24.

He said a subcontractor “did not set up enough flaggers for the cross streets,” triggering the vehicular logjam. “But the contractor was able to pull their personnel off work and start flagging” to lessen the impact.

Some have questioned why the job’s contractor said before the Fourth of July that work on the Cambria Drive-to-Harmony project would be done at night, but then the schedule shifted back to include daytime work. Silva said the intricacies of paving, among other issues, can dictate what time of day those operations will be done.

“When you are paving the lanes and shoulder, you kind of get stuck finishing what you start,” he said. “They can’t get off the road once you start paving, because you have to let the road cool before you can let traffic back on it.”

Also, you “have to preorder the asphalt at a big cost,” he said, so it would go to waste if the work can’t be completed when the asphalt is there and ready to spread.

“The operation they are doing right now, if the traffic is getting backed up, they can open up the lanes and allow the traffic to clear,” he said Monday, July 29.

What’s left to do, as of this week, includes:

On the Cambria-to-Harmony job: Silva said, “This week, they will be doing shoulder work during the day and grinding the bumps at night. Next week, they will be doing the final striping.”

But he didn’t know yet if that would be done during the day or at night.

On the Harmony-to-Cayucos job: “This week, they will be doing dike work and guardrail work during the day. Next week, they’ll be grinding out the bumps and doing guardrail work during the day.”

A reader of The Cambrian wanted the official explanation for the new pad areas with curbs, which are placed at stoplight intersections on either side of Highway 1 in Cambria.

“Those ramps are considered refuge areas for pedestrians,” he said, and are “intended to get the pedestrians safely off the roadway while they’re waiting to cross.”

He said the pads are constructed to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

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