The owners of Sam’s Chowder House are footing the bill to build a new Highway 1 turn lane that they believe will solve traffic hazards in front of the restaurant. Construction began in recent days with plans to finish in about four weeks.
The stretch of highway near the restaurant and Surfer’s Beach has long been a problem spot where motorists sometimes make up their own rules. On warm beach-friendly days, pedestrians can often been seen dashing to cross the road while cars slow traffic in both directions to make turns. The stop-and-go nature of the stretch sometimes results in fender-benders and other collisions.
Sam’s Chowder House owners say they have been working for months to address these hazards. Restaurant owner Paul Shenkman said Wednesday that plans for the turn lane were first submitted in November, but the project was delayed because of design changes requested by Caltrans.
The new turn lane is being paid entirely by the restaurant, he said, declining to give the exact cost.
“It was very, very expensive,” he said. “It was a longer process than we anticipated, and we’re happy to finally get it done.”
The restaurant is also working to expand the available parking for customers. Shenkman said he is negotiating to acquire new parking.