Great Highway paving project to renew battered roadway

Great Highway San Francisco

The City of San Francisco plans to repave the Great Highway starting this week. Photo: Tom Prete / Ocean Beach Bulletin

It may be called the Great Highway, but lately the closer you get to the ribbon of asphalt along San Francisco’s western edge the less great it looks. The street surface is cracked, pitted, fractured and worn from Sloat Boulevard to the Cliff House.

But starting this week, the City’s Department of Public Works will undertake a $7.3 million project to repair and replace the surface of the road, fix sidewalks and install curb ramps along most of the Great Highway and Point Lobos Avenue. The nine-month project also will replace some sewer mains and other sewer infrastructure, and a water main on Point Lobos Avenue.

Work will start Wednesday, DPW representative Rachel Gordon told the Ocean Beach Bulletin in an email, and will proceed in phases until about October or November.

The first phase of the project will replace sewer mains under the road in two segments: from Lincoln Way to Fulton Street, and on Point Lobos from 48th Avenue past the Cliff House and down the hill toward Ocean Beach. That work is expected to last about two months.

Traffic lanes will be affected, but only one at a time to allow cars to get through in both directions, Gordon stated. Some parking will be temporarily blocked as well.

Later, Point Lobos will be repaved from 48th Avenue to the bottom of the hill where it becomes the Great Highway, and from there south to Sloat Boulevard.

The Great Highway project is being paid for by the 2011 Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond Program.

Neighborhood resident Ralph Henson said that while he’s happy to hear that the road will be repaved, he’s concerned about the potential impact on the residential areas near the Great Highway.

San Francisco Great Highway pothole

Photo: Tom Prete / Ocean Beach Bulletin

“Our big trouble is traffic on the Lower Great Highway” whenever the upper road is closed, Henson said.

Although the Department of Public Works says that only one traffic lane will be closed at a time, at least in the first stage of the project, local residents have long said that it doesn’t take a full closure of the Great Highway, just heavy traffic, to produce an impact on Lower Great. And when drivers ditch the Great Highway for another street, they often don’t bother going blocks out of their way to Sunset Boulevard, the designated alternative.

“The people on the Lower Great Highway would like to have a way to get people off of it when they close the upper Great Highway, and send them to Sunset,” said Henson.

One part of the project that will bring a visible change even after all the construction equipment is gone is the creation of a raised median in the center of the Great Highway. The two-foot median, from Lincoln Way to Balboa Street, will be planted and fitted with an irrigation system.

The Department of Public Works has a website with more information about the project and a signup for email updates.

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  1. Does this work jibe with the masterplan for coastal erosion?

  2. Schedule
    Construction began in January 2013.
    Construction scheduled for completion in the Fall, around October 2013.

    9 months!! I will never understand why it takes that much time. Like the bay bridge: they should just shut the darn thing down then triple/quadriple the manpower, and finish it in a week or two. Malfunction junction at sloat/west portal/portola/st francis blvd was a multi month nightmare.

    It seems the motto is creat the most disruption for the greatest amount of time.

    :) I’m not bitter :)

    sorry, I should dial back the vitriol.


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