Senior city construction engineer Stephen Lindsay said work west of El Paseo Grande to remove a bile filter clean box and reconnect 72-inch storm drain pipe is finished for 2016.
“After the new year, we'll finish the curbs, gutters and sidewalks and make it all nice,” Lindsay said. “Then we'll go down to the outfall structure storm drain box culvert at the beach that will be replaced.”
Lindsay said completing work on El Paseo Grande will likely take three or four weeks, adding work on the beach outfall structure is anticipated to take about five months, with completion by the start of the summer work moratorium beginning Memorial Day.
There will be some disruption to local business off and on during construction in 2017, with Lindsay expecting “minimal impact to the community.”
The city's Avenida de la Playa project to replace parts of the storm drain system is more than a year behind schedule and well over budget. January rains caused the new infrastructure to fail creating a sinkhole and flooding that collapsed the end of Avenida de la Playa.
Under way since December 2013, the project was planned to be completed in March 2015 before the system failed. The cause of the system failure remains under investigation.
Miffed merchants guided by La Jolla Shores Business Association staged a protest in early November outside Barbarella restaurant to express consternation with unanticipated problems with the storm-drain project.
Angie Preisendorfer, Shores Association president and owner of Rusty Boardhouse at 2170 Avenida de la Playa, characterized the infrastructure failure as “a perfect storm of errors.”
“There was a lot major debris and the (water) pressure blew out what they (city) had done,” Preisendorfer said.
News of holiday-free construction was greeted like a present under the tree by La Jolla Shores merchants tired of their compact business district being “chewed up” with the Holidays coming on.
“It looks like we are done with construction on Avenida until January, Whew!,” said Terry Kraszewski, owner of Ocean Girl Surf boutique at 2162 Avenida de la Playa. “We are hoping for help from Barbara Bry, our new Council rep, when she takes office, and are excited to have a receptive and interested representative as we begin to pursue new projects.”
Kraszewski added Ocean Girl has “lots of new stock for Holiday gifting.”
“Yes, fences and barricades were lifted and the orange cones and yellow earth movers have disappeared,” exclaimed Isabelle (Izzy) Tihanyi, CEO/owner of Surf Diva Inc., women's surf school and boutique at 2160 Avenida de la Playa. “The Shores beach businesses are open and ready for local holiday shopping.”
Tihanyi implored shoppers to “avoid the malls and support your local and family owned boutiques and shops.” She said Surf Diva will be featuring steep discounts on surfboards, gift items and free gift wrapping, “so you have time to hit the beach while our adorable elves handle packing up your gifts.”
A limited-edition gift card collection in celebration of Surf Diva's 20th anniversary was released recently with artwork inspired and approved by the Surf Divas themselves. Izzy and twin sister Coco will also be honored this year as Sports Marshals at the La Jolla Christmas Parade.
“It's very meaningful to us and all of our staff that the La Jolla community recognizes our efforts towards sharing the sport and spirit of surfing for all," Izzy said.
Though Shores businesses were negatively impacted by storm drain construction, only a couple have left. Which is encouraging, said Preisendorfer, who stressed her greatest fear is “our image.”
“It's the mind set,” she said. “We want people to know there are places to park and it's beautiful here. Our beach gets 3 million visitors a year, and we want them to be happy to buy a T-shirt and a hamburger.”
Preisendorfer said the Shores Association is looking forward to working with Council member Bry to create “our own banner district having some signage.”
Though a small district, Shores businesses number about 150, Preisendorfer said.