Construction on La Mirada and Rosecrans delayed, city says

Water-saving medians on the two streets just outside of Biola will be completed in late November.

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Construction on La Mirada and Rosecrans delayed, city says

Road work located on La Mirada Boulevard, next to Biola University.

Road work located on La Mirada Boulevard, next to Biola University.

Photo by Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES

Road work located on La Mirada Boulevard, next to Biola University.

Photo by Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES

Photo by Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES

Road work located on La Mirada Boulevard, next to Biola University.

Brittany Ung, News Editor

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The construction project responsible for lane closures and congestion on Rosecrans Avenue and La Mirada Boulevard will continue for most of the semester. Median construction has been delayed due to digging complications, according to La Mirada Public Works Director Mark Stowell. The two streets stand in front of Biola’s campus, leading to both entrances on La Mirada Boulevard and Biola Avenue.

“[We’re a] little behind,” he said. “We had a little more earthwork than we thought, little more dirt came out of the medians than they had anticipated.”

The project began in late May and will be finished in late November, Stowell estimated. 

DROUGHT-PROOFING CALIFORNIA

The median project was prompted by drought-prone California’s 2017 water restrictions. The executive order, issued by then-Gov. Jerry Brown included a provision that prohibited cities from watering ornamental turf on medians—including the turf on the La Mirada and Rosecrans medians. The city shut off water to its medians shortly afterward. As a result, the city’s island flora has suffered, Stowell said. 

“We made an attempt to put drip hoses around our trees that were in the median, but established roots make it difficult to mimic what was there from the sprinklers,” he said. “So our trees were in decline, they were actually getting kind of old and getting sick already. So everything started declining very quickly.”

The old medians were covered with mounded grass, which meant water would run off into the street. The new medians will be concave to prevent this water waste, and the city has picked out certain drought-resistant trees, bushes and ground cover to replace what Stowell described as “water-needy plant material.” 

Stowell says the turf on medians was one of the city’s greatest water uses. 

“Turning off the turf medians was a huge saving to us, just the amount of how much water was being put out there on a regular basis,” Stowell said. “We had a mandate to get a 20% reduction and that was easily met just by the medians alone.”

COMPLICATIONS FOR COMMUTERS

The construction on these streets has impacted city traffic and those commuting to campus. 

“[It’s been] congested and [the construction] seems to change every day so you can’t adapt your routes as quickly,” said junior Michael Martinez. The accounting major who commutes from Fullerton continued, “Other drivers are also less aware so there’s a lot of last-minute lane changes and a couple of close calls.”

UPCOMING VALLEY VIEW CONSTRUCTION

The city is planning to begin a similar construction project on the Valley View Avenue median. Stowell says the bids for that project should begin by the end of the month. The bidding process may take about two to three months, then at least six months for the actual construction, according to Stowell.