With its quaint stores and specialty food spots, Marine Avenue on Balboa Island is a charming landmark in the history of Newport Beach. Despite being over 100 years old, the businesses along the two blocks of Marine Avenue have maintained their small town appeal and continue to attract visitors.
The road itself, though, is due for a facelift. Only the pavement portion of the Marine Avenue rehabilitation project has been discussed thus far, confirmed Lee Pearl of the Balboa Island Improvement Association. The rest of the undertaking is in preliminary stages.
“The city would like to complete the Park Avenue bridge project first,” said newly-elected councilman Jeff Herdman, who represents Balboa Island on the Newport Beach City Council. He suggested to the Department of Public Works that no effort be put into the re-design of Marine Avenue until then.
Working with the city will be the Balboa Island Merchants Association, who formed a committee for the Marine Avenue project. Members of the Merchants Association board and the Balboa Improvement Association also have a presence on the committee, and Herdman hopes that someone from the Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society will join as well. The committee will hold its initial meeting in March.
That meeting will be “more of a brainstorming session, where we just put out the question, ‘What would you like to see done?’” Herdman divulged.
“That was what was done with the Little Balboa Island community in designing the Park Avenue Bridge, and we all walked away from that meeting with a design that was built on consensus,” he said.
The bridge on Park Avenue that connects the main island to Little Balboa Island over the Grand Canal has been closed since June 2016. According to the bridge’s construction update website, the new traffic lanes will be a foot wider and the sidewalks (which will be on both sides of the new bridge) will be two feet wider. A temporary bridge is in place on Balboa Avenue.
With rain that has been heavier than usual this winter, a worker on the new bridge estimated that the crew had lost approximately 10 days of work thus far.
Crews are expected to add the next two Saturdays to their work schedule (January 28 and February 4) in order to hopefully reopen the bridge as soon as March.
For more information and updates, visit newportbeachca.gov.