Crews will remove and replace trees along Pacific Coast Highway in first phase of city’s long-awaited revitalization project

Starting this weekend construction crews will begin planned beautification work for Dana Point's downtown. Photo by Andrea Papagianis
Starting this weekend construction crews will begin planned beautification work for Dana Point’s downtown. Photo by Andrea Papagianis

By Andrea Papagianis

Since September, the South Coast Water District has had a visible presence in Dana Point’s downtown, replacing water and sewer utilities as part of the city’s Town Center—or Lantern District—revamp. Now it’s the city’s turn.

Tuesday night, the city’s Public Works and Engineering Director Brad Fowler announced that crews will begin removing and replacing trees along Pacific Coast Highway this weekend. This marks the city’s first construction step in enhancements for PCH and Del Prado Avenue as part of the $19 million project.

Contractors will first work to remove diseased Tipu trees on both sides of PCH and plant new date palm trees. The city’s contractor will begin work on Saturday Jan. 25 and continue it on Saturday, Feb. 1. The final tree removals and planting will be completed between Feb. 3 and Feb. 14.

Electronic message boards have been placed throughout the area, and two lanes of traffic will be open throughout the process, city officials said. Also, a city inspector will be onsite throughout the work.

Over the next eight months, crews will make landscape, street lighting, electrical, traffic signal, street and curb improvements on PCH from Copper Lantern to Blue Lantern. The project has been a long time coming as discussion began in the 90s and plans were formulated nearly a decade ago.

The City Council approved its first portion of spending on the project last spring, allotting $9.2 million to complete upgrades on PCH. The roadway will return to a two-way street once improvements are made.

One item still considered worrisome to business and property owners on Del Prado is when the City Council will authorize a near $7 million needed to complete the second phase of work.

City Manager Doug Chokevys said Tuesday that staff is working to close out the city’s books for 2013 and should have a better picture of its financial status later this spring.

For questions regarding the upcoming changes to PCH and the city’s construction work, email City Engineer, Matt Sinacori at Additionally, to receive email updates, email and check the city’s website for updates, under PCH/Del Prado Construction.

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