Council approves second phase of Imperial Hwy. enhancement

DOWNEY - Over the objections of Mayor Mario Guerra, and thus by an eventual vote of 4-1, the City Council on Tuesday approved the plans and specifications of phase two of the Imperial Highway Traffic Throughput and Safety Enhancements Project which, in addition to the usual considerations of enhancing traffic flow and safety, aims at "improving the aesthetics and visual appearance of the Imperial Highway Corridor through a series of raised landscaped median islands and associated improvements."The first phase of the project, which included the portion of Imperial Highway between Bellflower and Paramount boulevards, was completed in August 2007. The second phase covers the segments between Paramount Boulevard and the west city limit, and between Bellflower Boulevard and the east city limit. The enhancements will include: a) the construction of new raised landscaped median islands within the project limits where they currently don't exist; b) the re-landscaping of the existing median islands within the project limits (in other words, the landscaping theme will continue in the same vein as that of Phase I); 3) and various other improvements. It was on the landscaping issue that Guerra directed his focus, saying in effect that he preferred the landscaping that was done previously on Paramount Boulevard and that staff could perhaps modify the plans. A pointed discussion took place, with the argument prevailing that time was of the essence here, to enable the city to take advantage of time-constrained Federal Transportation Enhancements Grant requirements. More specifically, immediate Council action was necessary, according to public works director Brian Ragland, to allow sufficient time to advertise the project for construction so that a construction contract may be awarded by early December.

********** Published: October 30, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 28