Orange County Public Works
Roadway & Highway Project of the Year
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Additional Information

During construction, close coordination was required amongst designers, project management, construction, residents, and utility agencies.  There were unforeseen (and aged) subsurface utility conditions that required relocations (i.e. 24” waterlines, 8” sewer lines).  Additionally, several private properties made home improvements during the span of our construction, thereby requiring redesign of frontages to conform to new join conditions.

Crawford Canyon Road Drainage Improvements & Reconstruction

Project Location:

The project is located within North Tustin, unincorporated County of Orange, along Crawford Canyon Road from Newport Boulevard to Stoller Lane.

Project Description:

The Crawford Canyon Road Drainage Improvements and Reconstruction Project consisted of two phases, replacing approximately 1 mile of existing open drainage ditch on the western edge of pavement with a curb and gutter drainage system.  Other major improvements included custom designed catch basins with storm drain laterals, inlet/outlet headwall weir structures, reconstruction of driveways and curb ramps, reconfiguration of the Crawford/Barrett Lane intersection, construction of a decomposed granite walking/trail surface, installation of fencing, pavement reconstruction, signing and striping upgrades, school ingress/egress improvements, and safety enhancements to pedestrian crossing.

Project Justification:

Crawford Canyon Road residents have experienced major flooding within their property during storm events, and have witnessed many car accidents including damage to fences and walls.  The Crawford Canyon Road Drainage and Roadway Reconstruction Project, one of the County’s high-priority legacy projects,  has been 7 years in the making with physical design and political challenges.  (See below for obstacles to overcome).  The pre-construction condition featured asphalt concrete drainage V-ditches along one side of the street which is prone to maintenance, debris buildup, and accidents without any physical barriers through blind curves or street lighting after dusk, or pedestrian access.  Congestion during school hours posed a concern for students who had no safe walking path to be dropped off within the immediate area.  The roadway was fully build-out with innate issues that had to be addressed.

This project resolved all the concerns with the following features: 
* The Crawford Canyon Road Drainage & Roadway Reconstruction Project provided this small community with a storm drain system that can now withstand a 25-year storm event with minimal maintenance.
* The pavement was reconstructed to facilitate drainage into the proper facilities via catch basins.
* The curb and gutter provided an extra barrier for vehicles so they no longer will crash into private property frontages.
* The V-ditch was replaced with a pervious walking/recreation trail for residents and/or equestrian users, while providing a safe route to school for students.
* Egress and Ingress improved for the elementary school by providing a bus pull-out and no-parking red-zone.
* Signage, delineation, pavement markers were added to provide better visibility of blind curves and in the evenings.
* The Barrett Lane and Crawford Canyon Road intersection was reconfigured with bulb-outs, rectangular flashing beacon crossings, and in pavement flashers to reduce traveling speeds and provide a much safer crossing for pedestrians.
* A crossing guard was hired during school hours.
* A middle dual-turn lane was implemented to facilitate safer turning movements.

This is a significant milestone for the County to have accomplished this project for the North Tustin community.

Special Circumstances:

This challenging project overcame extensive political and public obstacles. 

The project went through three full designs before it was deemed constructible and acceptable to the constituents:
(1) The first design proposed continuous 24” to 36” storm drains along the roadway, requiring significant utility relocations, extensive traffic control, long duration, and reconstructing more than 30 private frontages.
(2) The second design proposed 26 partial private property acquisitions to build out storm drain improvements with Type V catch basins, thereby reconstructing frontages and partial demolition of building structures.
(3) The third and final design proposed a feasible hybrid curb and gutter, catch basin storm drain system at select locations.

The final, creative design option not only minimized utility relocations, extensive traffic control, shortened construction duration, but also did not require any permanent right-of-way acquisitions.  The County worked closely with each affected property owner and neighborhood elementary school to reconstruct necessary driveways and frontage improvements.  There were over 3 public outreach sessions to discuss project details, obtain feedback on aesthetic features, and work hand-in-hand with the community to develop a much needed project.  The residents initially strongly opposed to the entire project based on the first two design alternatives and their impacts.  The project was subsequently put on hold for over one year.  Residents even wrote complaints to the Board of Supervisors, knowing that one of them lives locally in the area and his child attends a school within the project limits.  The County engineers made every effort to accommodate features that minimized inconvenience while providing a safer roadway.  Features were also added upon their request to retain the rural characteristic of the neighborhood including a pervious, decomposed granite (DG) walking path, colored concrete that matches the DG, and vinyl fencing to provide a safe route to school for children.

The success of the project was measured by the community’s comments after construction:

“Thank you again for your support and for all of the work the County performed on Crawford Canyon Road this past year.” - Orange Unified School District
“We appreciate all the hard work everyone has done.  All the workers have been so polite and done everything in their power to make this transition as easy as possible on all of the residents.” - Resident
“Everything else looks wonderful and we are very appreciative of all the work done over the past 9 months.” -  Resident
“We very much appreciate all that you and your team has done to make our streets safer on the Crawford Canyon Drainage Project.” - Resident

Projects are made possible when engineers persevere and work collaboratively with constituents towards a common goal.

Project Attachments:

The project was so well-received by the community that the County received kudos as well as follow-up requests for additional improvements to complement the completed drainage & roadway project.  The County is now planning another phase of the project to continue the walking path/trail to the south and the addition of a neighborhood park on the southern terminus.  OC Public Works is collaborating with OC Parks to obtain community feedback and program this next phase.  Please see pictures on conceptual plans to beautify the park located at Newport Blvd and Crawford Canyon Road.

Award Citation::

Crawford Canyon Road has been improved to safeguard against storm events, providing safety enhancements for pedestrians and recreation users, while maintaining the community’s rural character.

Suggested Award Summary:

Through years of project development, Crawford Canyon Road has been improved to safeguard against flood events, to provide safety enhancements for pedestrians and recreation users, and to beautify the North Tustin community with a consistent rural character.  The one-mile roadway project included mainline storm drain improvements, custom-designed drainage structures, recreational walking path, ADA upgrades,
pavement reconstruction, curb and gutter construction, utility relocations, and signal upgrades.  Future phase includes connection to the walking path and a beautiful playground/park.


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