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RTC offers tips on driving through the Highway 1 Soquel/Morrissey Auxiliary Lane Project
Editor's note: Today's Street Smarts topic comes from Karena Pushnik, a Senior Transportation Planner with the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, the agency responsible for delivering a full range of safe, convenient, reliable and efficient transportation choices for the community. In today's column, Pushnik delves into the do's and don'ts of driving in the Highway 1 Soquel/Morrissey Auxiliary Lane Project area. It’s true that it's incredibly interesting to drive right through the middle of an active construction project where the scenery is changing by the minute! That said, it’s in all of our best interest for drivers traveling through the one mile Highway 1 construction area between the Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard interchanges to stay focused, keep their eyes on the road, keep a decent distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you and to maintain constant travel speeds. Lately the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, the agency responsible for overseeing construction of this regional project, has been hearing complaints about driver behavior issues such as “rubber-necking” and inefficient merging. While maximum speeds in the construction zone are 55 mph, rather than the normal 65 mph, and traffic fines are doubled with in the project limits, avoidable delays occur when drivers stop paying attention to the road ahead of them. The requirements of the construction project create additional merge points along the highway. For those that need a refresher on the rules of the road, the “zipper method” is a safe and effective way to merge. This is done by motorists using both lanes of traffic until reaching the defined merge area, and then taking turns by alternating one car from each lane merging in zipper fashion into the open lane. The best way to get the most current project information is to subscribe to the commission’s eNews. We’ll send you an email every week or two about activities completed, underway or scheduled. With the La Fonda Bridge scheduled to come down the first week in August, eNews will include the exact date that demolition will occur, the exact night hours that Highway 1 will be closed completely and information about school programs to help students at DeLaveaga Elementary and Harbor High. To receive eNews send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org and note the project name – Hwy 1-Soquel/Morrissey Aux Lanes-- in the subject line. Other ways to get information include visiting the project page on the commission's website at: http://sccrtc.org/projects/streets-highways/highway-1-aux-lanes/, or liking it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sccrtc. We’d like to remind drivers to allow extra time and use caution, especially in the school zones.