Thursday, May 30, 2024

Streets surrounding Colorado Lagoon project to reopen by end of year, weather permitting

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The $32.5M Colorado Lagoon project—set to bring a new tidal flow channel between Colorado Lagoon and Marine Stadium that hasn’t been seen since the 1960s—is the city’s largest infrastructure project currently under construction and has caused a complete diversion of East Long Beach traffic.

But city officials say that, weather permitting, roads should be accessible again by the end of the year with the newly minted green space officially opening the first quarter of 2025.

What is the traffic issue with the Colorado Lagoon traffic?

“Street reopening is anticipated at the end of this year and the park reopening is anticipated in the first quarter of 2025,” said Colin Averill, the senior civil engineer managing the project for the City of Long Beach. “Construction schedules may be impacted by weather and unforeseen conditions.”

The news comes warmly welcomed, especially for those within the neighborhood or those who use their surrounding streets for commuting: With the closure of Colorado Street and Appian Way where they meet Marina Vista Park and the stadium, commuters have been unable to access the 22 via Loynes Drive nor has returning traffic from the 22 on Studebaker Road been able to use Loynes (and then Colorado Street) to access Belmont Heights. Drivers and bicyclists are now diverted north on Park Avenue to 7th Street or 6th Street to access certain areas.

What exactly is happening at Colorado Lagoon and the northern tip of Marina Stadium?

The main point of the project is complicated in terms of construction but relatively simple in concept: returning the Colorado Lagoon back to its former glory by reconnecting it more fluidly to the Marine Stadium via a new tidal channel that will run through Marina Vista Park.

Excavation of Marina Vista Park for the new channel has begun, giving people a very rough preview of what the channel will look like upon completion, stretching from the south side of the Colorado Lagoon to the northern tip of Marina Stadium.

Sheet pile installation at both the southern part of Colorado Lagoon and the northern tip of Marine Stadium where it meets Elliot Street began in late 2022. The sheet piles are being used to both blockade the water and allow the demolition of existing infrastructure to make way for new bridges: One that will run over the new tidal channel along Colorado Street on the north and another that will run over the channel where it meets Marine Stadium on Elliot Street.

What will the Colorado Lagoon and Marina Park look like upon completion?

When first reporting on the project in 2021, the city was out to bid on a contractor before one was chosen in November of 2022, its cost increasing from $26.3M to $32.5M—and when complete, will return the water channels into something almost identical to what previously existed before overdevelopment of the space led to an eradication of its environment.

The tidal channel project is the last major phase of what has been a two-decade overhaul of the area: In 2001, the Friends of Colorado Lagoon coalesced to address the massive pollution within its water and decay surrounding the lagoon itself after multiple development projects, beginning in the 1960s, restricted its flow to Marine Stadium.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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