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El Portal Encinitas
The City of Encinitas will begin construction along North Coast Highway 101 between A Street and Avocado Street for the next 18 months. Photo by Dustin Jones
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Leucadia Streetscape construction starts March 1

ENCINITAS — Encinitas residents should expect delays while traveling along Coast Highway 101 when preliminary construction of the city’s Leucadia Streetscape project kicks off next week — the city’s second major construction project along the popular coastal thoroughfare.

Starting March 1, construction will stretch from A Street to Avocado Street and will mainly take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to construction-related noise and vehicle traffic, residents should anticipate temporary lane closures and detours.

Construction is scheduled to end in mid-2022.

“We are so excited to reach this important milestone for the Leucadia Streetscape project and move it forward into construction,” said Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “This is a big moment for our community, as it comes after nearly a decade of work by City staff and engagement with the community to create a plan that makes it easier and safer for community members to get to the beach and enjoy the shops and restaurants on North Coast Highway 101, whether in a car, on a bike or on foot.”

Phase 1 of construction will include roadway improvements between Marcheta Street and Basil Street, drainage work between El Portal Street and A Street and pod construction will be parked along the east side of the highway between Marcheta and Avocado streets, a city statement said.

The Leucadia Streetscape project will also feature a roundabout at the intersection of El Portal and North Coast Highway 101 to “reduce friction between cars, bikes and pedestrians,” project plans said.

On top of reducing time spent stopped at streetlights, the US Department of Transportation says roundabouts reduce crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78-82%. The project also calls for buffered bike lanes for cyclists and wider sidewalks for pedestrians to promote non-vehicle traffic.

The city’s general fund and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will finance the $7.7 million streetscape project.

Eventually, the streetscape design will connect pedestrians and cyclists to the El Portal Undercrossing, which started construction in December 2020. The railroad undercrossing will provide the public a safe way of crossing the railroad tracks that separate the highway from Vulcan Avenue.

The rail corridor services more than 50 passenger and freight trains each day, the project plans said. As well, railroad traffic through the city is expected to double by 2035. Community input during the planning phase favored the undercrossing instead of an overpass.

The undercrossing will cost just over $12.1 million and will be funded by the city and grants from the State of California Active Transportation Program.

Residents are encouraged to email [email protected] with questions or requests.