The city plans to refurbish Harbor Boulevard between MacArthur Boulevard and Wilson Street early this spring to ease traffic congestion, smooth rough spots and widen intersections, officials said.
"The primary basis for it is improving the quality of the street," City Manager Allan L. Roeder said. "It really is in pretty bad condition."
The City Council is expected to approve a contractor for the job on Monday. Repairs could begin as early as February, depending on the weather.
Financing for the $5.2-million job is coming mostly from federal grants and the city's share of Measure M sales-tax revenue. The city of Santa Ana is helping to pay for an underground water line below the thoroughfare that it will share with Costa Mesa.
Construction crews will keep two lanes open in each direction during the job, said Ernesto Munoz, assistant city engineer. Many of the repairs will be done at night. Fairview Road can be used as an alternative route to Harbor.
Officials said the improvements are environmentally sensitive in at least two ways: Reclaimed water will feed drought-resistant plants along new medians, and street asphalt will be made partially from recycled tires.
"One of the neat aspects of this job is we are going to use rubberized asphalt," Munoz said. "We're basically using recycled tires, ground up with asphalt, and laying it down to make a rubberized mat."
Munoz said the rubberized material resists moisture better than regular pavement and should last about 20 years, "in addition to being an environmentally good thing to do."
Harbor has deteriorated over the years largely because of the 61,000 vehicles that use it daily, the elements and underground utility work, Munoz said.