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Ocean Boulevard Improvement Project in Pismo Beach delayed due to supply chain issues

Angel Russell

The Ocean Boulevard Improvement Project in Shell Beach, meant to replace a long-closed coastal stairway and add infrastructure upgrades, was set to begin construction this month.

But the city said the project has now been delayed for the second time.

Off Ocean Boulevard near Eldwayen Ocean Park in Shell Beach is a boarded up coastal staircase. A danger sign has been posted for several years, as the wooden stairs have rotted and the support beams have degraded due to erosion and storms.

“There is nothing there!" Said Pismo Beach resident Sherlie Thompson. "So they have to close it, for safety.”

Thompson spends her mornings sipping coffee by the stairway. She said she understands why the staircase closed in the first place, but she’s frustrated the city hasn’t started the work to repair them after all these years.

“They need to get it done for the public," Thompson said. "We pay taxes, we need to get it done so we can enjoy it.”

Plans to repair the Morro Stairs are part of the project. It will also add bluff stabilization, an observation area and install a pedestrian walkway between Vista Del Mar and Wawona Avenue.

Construction for the project was set to begin this month after the project was first delayed in 2021 due to additional bluff failure from winter storms.

But Director of Public Works for Pismo Beach, Ben Fine, said now the project is being delayed again due to another issue.

“The delay in the project is coming from supply chain issues,” Fine said.

Fine said their contractor informed them they are waiting on epoxy coated rebar, which is one of the main components in adding bluff protection for the stairway, and that material may take up to 25 weeks to arrive due to the backlog.

“So we are working with the contractor right now to see, does it make sense? Can we move forward with some of the other improvements before we do that bluff protection?” Fine said.

Fine said he understands people have long awaited for the stairway to re-open, and asks for patience as the city is working through every possible alternative with hopes construction on the project can begin soon.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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