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Orange County Digest

Local News in Brief : Laguna Beach : City Rejects Caltrans' Plan for Canyon Road

November 05, 1987

The City Council has unanimously rejected a $9-million California Transportation Department plan to widen portions of the treacherous two-lane highway that links the city with the San Diego Freeway.

More than 30 people have been killed in automobile accidents along Laguna Canyon Road in the last decade, but state and city officials have been unable to agree on safety improvements to the highway that would preserve the area's aesthetic appeal.

"To a certain extent, we're back to the drawing board," Mayor Neil J. Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. Councilmen who met Tuesday night, he said, were swayed by testimony from dozens of residents who came forth to oppose the plan.

Despite the vote, Fitzpatrick said that the city and the state had made progress toward a plan acceptable to both agencies. "We're not as separated (from Caltrans' position) as we were a year ago," he said.

The rejected plan had been recommended by City Manager Kenneth C. Frank, who had urged the council to give conditional approval until city and Caltrans officials could work out differences on landscaping, underground utility lines, curbs and traffic signals.

Frank was unfazed by the defeat of the plan, saying, "I'm never surprised anymore by what the council does."

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