Plans in the works to address stretch of PCH in Orange County plagued by flooding, road closures

David González Image
Friday, March 1, 2024
Caltrans working to address stretch of PCH in OC plagued by flooding
Caltrans says it has been working on a fix for flooding on a stretch of PCH through Huntington Beach.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Caltrans says it has been working on a fix for flooding on a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway through Huntington Beach.

But frustrated residents say that area has flooded for years, and nothing yet has been done to prevent or fix the problem.

Pacific Coast Highway is a main thoroughfare in Huntington Beach.

"We see about 20,000 motorists each day using that stretch of road in order to get between Long Beach, Newport Beach and various areas throughout Huntington Beach," city public affairs manager Jennifer Carey said.

However, when it rains a three-mile stretch of PCH between Warner Avenue and Seapoint Street usually shuts down due to flooding and standing water.

"We've been dealing with this for about the past 10 years," Carey said.

It creates a hassle for drivers like Dena Beshai.

"There are no major freeways to get to the other side of town, and so you're stuck at every light sometimes, so it is inconvenient," she said.

Caltrans maintains this stretch of PCH, which sits between the beach and the Bolsa Chica Wetlands.

The flooding may be caused by the road's elevation and rising sea levels.

"We've been communicating with Caltrans constantly and trying to find solutions and fixes," Carey said.

During their Feb. 20 City Council meeting, Councilmember Dan Kalmick asked Caltrans officials about the ongoing problem.

He asked if there any plans to potentially address some of the concerns.

"The short answer, yes. There's something coming in the works that we're putting together," Caltrans District 12 Asset Manager Bassem Barsoum said.

Caltrans is in the early stages of creating a plan to address the issue, but nothing has been finalized at this time.

It's something residents hope becomes a priority.

"Obviously, we go through rainy seasons every year, so I don't understand why it's taking so long to fix the issues," Beshai said.

Caltrans will share information as it becomes available and moves through the process.

In the meantime, drivers will have to continue to anticipate road closures anytime it rains.