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Sunset Strip to get first paving since Depression

January 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
One of the most famous attractions in Los Angeles is about to get a facelift. Sunset Boulevard, between Sierra Drive and Harper Avenue, is getting its first repaving in 75 years.Unlike other cities, West Hollywood has a budget surplus and can afford to do a major revitalization project. If you've driven on Sunset Boulevard any time recently, you'll know that it's quite a bumpy ride. But not for long.

The legendary Sunset Strip is where people come to party, where tourists see the sights and where locals shop and dine. It's also where cars take a beating.

"When I hit a pothole, I cringe," said Beverly Hills resident Charlton Barton.

Starting on January 20, Sunset Blvd., from Sierra to Harper, will get a new coat of asphalt, the strip's first repaving since the Great Depression.

West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran said the face-lift is long overdue.

"We have the ability to take on a lot of these projects right now, when construction is really something that is in low demand," said Duran. "We can take advantage, you know -- those price breaks that we are getting to do a lot of this work."

Duran said the $5.4-million project will be worth every penny. Not only will the asphalt made of recycled tires be quieter for residents, but the sidewalks buckled by tree roots will be smoothed out, and shady trees will be planted.

"There's also day use, where we could use some shady magnolias, some shade trees, to sort of help create a little more day foot traffic along the Sunset Strip," said Duran.

Mike Maglieri, owner of the Whisky A Go Go bar, hopes the revitalization will bring more tourists and attract new businesses to replace those that didn't survive the recession.

"We shouldn't have 'for-lease' signs on Sunset," said Maglieri. "It's one of the most famous streets in the world. It should be packed. And you're seeing foot traffic. Today, pretty good, actually. We did see more and that's what we are trying to do."

The repaving will be done in three phases, lane by lane, to lessen the impact on traffic. Residents say the long-term benefit will eventually outweigh the short-term inconvenience.

"It should look as beautiful as it does always on movies and TV and everything, as far as I'm concerned, so I think it's a good idea," said Charlton Barton.

The project will take about six months. Crews will begin work in two weeks. There will be a groundbreaking ceremony in front of the Whisky A Go Go. The groundbreaking will be performed with Gibson "guitar shovels."