Grand Avenue – Lakeland Village Resurfacing and Widening Project
CTF Transportation Awards Entry Finalist
Grand Avenue started out in the 1850’s as part of the historic Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Road. From 1857 to 1861, the Overland Mail Route operated between Saint Louis and San Francisco. The current road alignment is shown on the 1901 USGS maps. This portion of the road is one of the few segments that have remained in its original alignment since the late 1800’s. Over the years the road has been paved and widened but the road remains a two lane road.
In the 1920’s, developer Ernest Pickering planned a 9,000 acre development that includes today’s Lakeland Village. The investors were trying to cash in on the popularity of the lake with Hollywood celebrities. At the time, the lake was known for its weekend boat races. The planned resort development was known as the Southern California then. Most of the businesses and homes along Grand Avenue are oriented to the recreational opportunities provided by Lake Elsinore whose shoreline parallels the road.
Lakeland Village maintains a very rural atmosphere with few sidewalks and no big name stores or restaurants. The residents are generally retirees and were attracted to this area because of its laid-back lifestyle and close access to Lake Elsinore. The shoulders along Grand Avenue are busy most days with people walking, jogging, riding bikes and some riding horses.
The heart of Lakeland Village is located between Baldwin Blvd. and Blackwell Blvd. There are convenience stores with gas pumps at both corners. These locations are the focus of a majority of the pedestrian traffic.
In recent years, Grand Avenue has become a major commuter route to southern Orange County via the Ortega Highway. Commuters come from Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar to the south and Menifee, Hemet and Perris to the east. The commuter traffic, mixed with the slower pace life style of the local community, has resulted in an increase of traffic accidents and even fatalities in this area.
There are over 60 side streets and numerous driveways that access Grand Avenue. Access to Grand Avenue was not a problem until it became a major commuter route and access to Grand Avenue is generally not a problem in off peak hours.
There are only four signalized intersections within the project limits. In the peak rush hours, the intensity of the traffic and the distance between signals allow the vehicles to space out and make it difficult for vehicles to turn onto and off Grand Avenue. .
The majority of the traffic accidents are from vehicles slowing to turn right. In several locations, there are no paved shoulders or right turn pockets and vehicles attempting to turn right must slowdown in the traffic lane, affecting the flow of traffic. In some locations, the asphalt pavement and some segments of the concrete low flow drainage crossing, were in such bad conditions that drivers would drive on the shoulder or in the center turn lane to avoid these areas.
The problem is intensified at night. There are few street lights and the street name signs are very difficult to see. Residents often complained about having to slow in traffic in order to see the street name signs. The striping and pavement markings are faded and need to be replaced.
The goal of the Grand Avenue Resurfacing & Widening Project is improve the roadway safety for traffic and pedestrians but maintain the rural nature of the area. Additional traffic signals, traffic lanes, landscaped medians, concrete sidewalks and additional landscaping would not be in character with the rural environment.
The 4.8 mile project work included minor asphalt shoulder widening, generally 4’ but varies up to 20’. The resurfacing will remove 0.25’ of the existing asphalt by grinding and 0.25’ of new Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) will be placed back on the road. The areas that are widened will be graded and 0.25’ of HMA will be placed over 0.50’ of Class II base. At all approaches to the concrete low flow drainage crossings, the asphalt and base removed and reconstructed. A new 0.17’ layer of Asphalt Rubber Hot Mix (ARHM) will be placed over the entire road width. The 0.17’ layer of Asphalt Rubber Hot Mix will raise the road surface and the transitions to the paved side streets, driveways and paved parking areas will have an asphalt overlay. Shoulder backing and grading will provide an additional 4’ graded shoulder. The pavement safety edge will be included in the long stretches without side streets or driveways.
The work will include removal and reconstruction of broken or cracked concrete curb & gutter, sidewalk, cross gutter and spandrel. The existing access ramps at the corners will be replaced or upgraded to comply with current ADA standards and FHWA requirements for resurfacing. The existing concrete “dip-sections” in need of repair will be replaced and one new dip-section will be added. New concrete curb returns for a right turn pocket will be constructed at Adelfa Street.
To improve sight distance and accommodate the widening, several trees, tree stumps and bushes will be removed from within the right of way. New trees, plants, landscape and irrigation improvements are not included in this project, keeping with the rural nature of the area.
The PS&E phase of the project was a complete in-house design by Riverside County Transportation Department staff. Riverside County Transportation has the qualified professional staff who performed the preliminary field surveys, research, environmental reviews, materials testing and pavement design, design, utility coordination, quantity estimates, signing & striping plans, constructability reviews, bid documents and specifications, construction survey, inspection.
Two segments of the roadway were located in the City of Lake Elsinore and one segment in the City of Wildomar. Preliminary cost estimates were prepared for the segments in the Cities and the Cities were invited to participate. Both Cities accepted and Cooperative Agreements were approved by both agencies to cover the cost of construction. The Contractor was required to obtain encroachment permits for traffic control and construction for both cities.
An extensive community outreach program was prepared by Dennis Green, President of Green Com, Inc. In advance of construction, several meeting were held with over 40 key stakeholders including the adjacent Cities, Caltrans, CHP, Sheriff, Fire, RTA, Contractor, Subcontractors, Inspectors, Utilities, a representative of the County Supervisor and the Superintendent of Elsinore Valley Unified School District. Input from the attendees was considered in the final construction schedule including school bussing and the end of the school year. Mr. Green provided an 888 phone line to handle all calls from the public.
Over 600 notices were mailed to the adjacent property owners, tenants and interested parties. Mr. Green was able to respond to the public inquires within one day. Most of the inquiries were resolved by Mr. Green directly in the response call and did not need to involve the Contractor or the Inspectors.
The Griffith Company was awarded the construction contract with a low bid of $4,523,019.02. The 2nd and 3rd low bidders were All American Asphalt and R. J. Noble Company with bids of $4,641,829 and $4,664,978, all within 3% of the low bid.
Construction began on May 26, 2015 and the final striping was completed on November 26, 2015. During this time, the area experienced several intense, major summer thunder storms. The close proximity to the steep hillsides westerly of the road result in rapid concentrations of runoff at several locations along the road. The roadway is designed to allow the runoff to sheet flow across the road and there was only minor damage to the construction areas.
Beginning on the first day of construction, Enhanced Enforcement was provided by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) under the Construction Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program (COZEEP). The paving operations would be performed in long segments and the CHP would be stationed at the opposite end, away from the construction activity, as a gentle reminder to slow down. The CHP are generally there to provide a passive reminder to slow down but the CHP did issue several tickets to overly aggressive drivers. Because of the nature of the drivers in this area and the need to protect the construction workers, the CHP logged approx. 400 hours on this project.
Exceptional Design Elements
The center of the Lakeland Village community, the commercial area between Baldwin Blvd. and Blackwell Blvd. had not aged well. The path between the two roads was a combination of badly cracked, steep driveways, patch work sidewalks, dirt paths, broken curbs and many obstacles. A retail safe store, an older appliance repair shop, an active furniture retail store using two of the buildings and another small store front were some of the original buildings in the community.
The initial project scope provided new sidewalk but providing access to these older building was considered the responsibility of the property owners. The property owners had recently been threatened by attorneys because of their non-compliant access. They are all family owned business the cost for compliance could force them out of business. It was determined it was in the best interest of the County to provide ADA compliant access to each building. The property owners were willing to cooperative with the project in exchange for accommodating them with an accessible path. E
ach building was a unique challenge that required several concept designs and many meetings with the property owner to negotiate a solution.
17657 & 17655 Grand Avenue
17657 Grand was the original Lakeland Village Post Office, built in the 60’s. 17655 Grand was built later in the Post Office parking lot after the Post Office had moved. The parking for 17657 is behind the building but had no driveway. A driveway was included in the design and the fire hydrant had to be relocated and because the driveway was much lower than the existing building, 3’ tall retaining walls were needed to support the building foundation. There was just enough room to provide an access ramp to the front door but there was no room left for stairs. The owner accepted that and even helped by relocation the water service that was exposed by the driveway cut. The finish floor for 17655 was much higher. In the final design seven steps were needed to reach the finished floor. The access ramp is almost 40’ long and wraps around the side building. The attached plan sheet C-3 shows the complexity of the ramps, stairs and retaining walls.
There is a saying; “A well-engineered design looks like it has always been that way.” In the before and after photos, the simplicity of the ramps fit well with the buildings.
17623 & 17617 Grand Avenue
Barron’s Furniture & Appliances has been a fixture in Lakeland Village for many years. They are a family run store and their main form of advertising is placing their sale items outside, in front of their two buildings. Their initial concern was the proposed project would eliminate the outside display areas. The County staff took their r concerns to heart and the final design worked out very well for them.
The stair and ramp layout provided direct access from the street to both of the building front doors. The layout of the ramp created additional flat areas that could be used to display their sales items. Many of their customer’s pickup their purchases from the showroom floor so removal able handrail was installed to accommodate customer pickups.
17509 Grand Avenue
The building was unoccupied and looked abandoned when the project began. Although the building was empty, the County felt it was obligated to provide access to the front door. As the design progressed, the building was purchased and the owner coordinated his new improvements with the project.
The current building looks modern with the new access improvements but still maintains the charm of an older historic building.