June 2016

RTC and CALTRANS Commemorate Completion of the Fishhook Project

Regional Transportation Commissioner Chair Don Lane welcomed Caltrans, contractors and the media gathered in the small patch of land encircled by the infamous northbound Highway 1 “fish hook” to celebrate completion of a relatively low-cost operational improvement project.

The project was constructed on existing state land and added an additional lane for about 1000 feet to remove the confusing lane merge between cars coming at full speed from southbound Highway 17 with cars slowly navigating the hairpin fishhook curve.  The confusion factor was exacerbated by high use of this merge area by thousands of visitors to Santa Cruz County.

Now, both lanes coming around the northbound Highway 1 fishhook have their own lanes all the way to the Highway 1/9 intersection and do not merge into the southbound Highway 17 lanes.  Construction costs for the project totaled $1.2 million and the project was constructed in record time by local contractors Granite Construction. Community feedback on the new and improved Fishhook has been universally positive. Caltrans project management chief Richard Rosales highlighted the project’s safety features, saying that this site had approximately twice the state average of collisions, and Caltrans Resident Engineer reviewed project construction details.

Bruce McPherson representing the 5th Supervisorial District on the Regional Transportation Commission outlined how the fishhook project is similar to operational improvement projects proposed in the 2016 Transportation Improvement Plan (TRIP).  The Plan includes 25% of the funds for projects in the county’s highway corridors including three new auxiliary lanes all the way to State Park Drive on Highway 1, which add more merging space and help reduce neighborhood cut-through traffic.  Also included in the Plan are two bicycle/pedestrian overcrossings on Highway 1 at Chanticleer and Mar Vista, as well as safety projects on Highway 17 and school access projects on Highway 9.

The 2016 Transportation Improvement Plan will benefit all residents, as well as visitors, through a balanced mix of projects across transportation modes and geographic areas of Santa Cruz County. In addition to the highway projects, the plan will support and expand active transportation options; protect transportation for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities; preserve critical existing infrastructure; reduce reliance on Sacramento and Washington for transportation funds; create jobs; and stimulate economic vitality. The plan would be supported through a half-cent sales tax.  At a public hearing on June 16, the Regional Transportation Commission board will make decisions about the final plan and the recommendation to place the measure on the November 2016 ballot. More information about the TRIP is at www.sccrtc.org/move  or www.facebook.com/sccrtc.

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