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Plaza Boulevard widening project gets green light

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Plaza Boulevard is a major east-west artery for the city of National City. This artery carries much of the cross-city traffic because it runs through the heart of the city's business district, and therefore plays a big role in facilitating much of regular as well as commerce-related traffic through the city. Recognizing the commercial as well as commute value of Plaza Boulevard, National City has been working toward plans to widen the boulevard, not only to increase capacity and reduce delays and congestion, but also to help improve operations and increase safety.

The city recently completed the engineering project plans and the environmental clearance to widen Plaza Boulevard. The project includes widening of approximately 1.1 miles of the road to three lanes in each direction from Highland Avenue to the west to Euclid Avenue to the east, including a segment under Interstate 805. The project also provides for improved intersections with exclusive left turn lanes and signalizations at major intersections, as well as medians and landscaping and continuous 5-foot sidewalks on both directions.

Widening of Plaza Boulevard provides increased capacity and helps reduce traffic delays. Additionally, the widening includes features such as controlled intersections, intermittent medians and continuous sidewalks that help with improving vehicular and pedestrian safety along this artery. Safety has been a major consideration in forwarding the project, as this segment has had higher than average number of traffic accidents within the project limits. The project costs approximately $20 million, and the city has placed it on top of the project priority list in anticipation of receiving funds from the federal infrastructure stimulus package.

The widening entails some property and/or construction impacts to the property owners along this segment. Most are minor and would have minimal impact on the business operations. The city is in the process of completing evaluations of the property impacts. Once these impacts are properly identified, the property owners will be contacted.

The federal stimulus package is targeted toward projects that are "ready to go." With the completion of project plans and environmental document for Plaza Boulevard, the city is in position to receive funds and make this project a reality after so many years.

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