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Caltrans should study traffic patterns, local events before starting bottlenecking project on Hwy 9, reader fumes
Dear Street Smarts, Q: I posted the message below on the Caltrans contact page for "Traffic or Work Zone Concern." While everyone who drives Highway 9 understands the need for work to be done on the road, some consideration of the impact on the community is definitely not too much to ask – or is it? 'This morning, Oct. 1, at 7:30 a.m., Highway 9 had one lane closed between Park Drive and Glen Arbor Road in the Ben Lomond area. It is unconscionable to close Highway 9 to 1 lane due to work BEFORE 8:30 a.m.!!!!! There is simply too much traffic that must get through and no good reason on this earth that work must start before 8:30am; 9 a.m. would be better. Do you even have a clue as to the (nightmare) that made the traffic situation? Does anyone in Caltrans District 5 even care? This morning was a late start day for the school complex in Felton, which meant school started at 9 a.m. The school calendar is available online and due to the impact school traffic has on Highway 9, their calendar should always be consulted. To not consider this is, again, unconscionable. And while we are on this subject: Due to the upcoming "temporary" lane closure for major work, a traffic signal was installed at this location. Why is one of the lights setup at someone's private driveway and NOT at the road for Highlands Park? Thank you for allowing me to rant, as I am painfully aware it will do not good.' Mary Champlin, Brookdale A: “Caltrans apologizes for the traffic situation on Highway 9 but we had a situation where roadwork could not be interrupted for installation of temporary guardrail and signal, which has been activated,” said Colin Jones, spokesman. “Only one lane, with signal controls, will be available on Highway 9 for the next 4-6 months. Shanna McCord did a story on this a few weeks ago. I'm checking on the temporary signal location.” The work Caltrans is doing up there involves installing a new viaduct, repaving, as well as adding new landscaping. The project is being done on a quarter-mile stretch of Highway 9 near Ben Lomond from just north of Glen Arbor Road to Highlands County Park, south of Holiday Lane. Construction began Sept. 4 and involves 24-hour one way traffic control with the help of a temporary signal through March 2013, weather permitting. Motorists should expect 10-15 minute delays, Caltrans estimated. While the road construction portion of the project is to wrap up on march, the landscaping is scheduled to be completed by next summer. This part of the project will not require lane closures. Pavex Construction of Watsonville is performing the task for $1.3 million. Caltrans reminds motorists to move over or slow down when driving through its work zones. It's the law. For information about this and other Caltrans District 5 projects, call 423-0396 or visit www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/maint/road/upscr.htm.