New SB Hwy 1 auxiliary lane to open next month

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I'm writing in regards to the La Fonda Bridge project in Santa Cruz. Caltrans is wasting time and our money. I travel the corridor twice a day and nothing appears to be getting done and there are three to seven workers mostly standing around every time I go by. Something has to be done and attention needs to be brought to this. I don't care that there was a celebration for the bridge opening, it hasn't helped traffic at all. The jam up in the mornings and afternoons and/or evenings is maddening to locals. When I talk to people they say, "Well that's Caltrans, everything moves at a snails pace." Well that's not good enough. I beg you do a story about this. It's hard earned tax payer dollars that are being drained away for these Caltrans fat cats to get rich and take forever on projects. Set up a time lapse camera and watch the madness for yourself. It's reprehensible and I don't know why there is zero talk of this situation in the media. If you're truly care about Central Coast news, then I beg you to raise awareness on this situation. It's simply 100 percent not acceptable. Sincerely, Lawrence Rachleff, travels the area twice a day, five times a week for work A: First off, the Soquel/Morrissey auxiliary lanes project along Highway 1 is being done by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, not Caltrans. After seeing some rain delays last winter, the project hit its stride during the dry months, with crews working some weekends and nights to try to expedite things and keep the project on pace for completion this fall. Here's the latest information on the project:
  • Night work will occur 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, through Saturday, Sept. 28, as crews remove the concrete barrier in the southbound direction and repave all three southbound lanes and two northbound lanes. Expect temporary lane closures. One lane will remain open in each direction. Additional night work is to occur Sept. 30 through Oct. 7 for lane striping. The new southbound lane is to open next month.
  • The landscaping project, which will continue past the opening of the auxiliary lanes, is coming about. Irrigation systems, trees and plants have all been installed on the southbound side. Bioswales are in place to filter storm water before it flows into nearby creeks. As for the northbound side, irrigation and landscaping will be installed when the drainage work is complete. More than half the plants being planted are native species.
  • An additional drain line is being constructed on the northbound side to supplement the system that was installed when the retaining wall was constructed, at Caltrans direction.
  • As for La Fonda Bridge, it opened Aug. 24. The new bridge features six foot sidewalks and bike lanes.
For information about the project, visit http://sccrtc.org/projects/streets-highways/highway-1-aux-lanes/.
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