Construction Begins on Highway 17 Wildlife Undercrossing at Laurel Curve

 

Construction of the Measure D-funded wildlife undercrossing on Highway 17 at the Laurel Curve gets underway this week. The location of this project is on Highway 17, from .6 miles south of Laurel Road to .2 miles north of Laurel Road.

During the first phase of construction, travelers in both the north and southbound directions of Highway 17 can expect overnight work that will result in the reduction of travel down to one lane.

Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 22, travel in the construction zone will be reduced to one lane in the northbound direction from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and in the southbound direction from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Overnight work will customarily begin Sunday evenings with overnight work concluding Friday mornings.

Travelers can expect delays of up to 10 minutes. Message and directional signs will be in place to assist travelers in the area and CHP will be on hand to assist with traffic control.

The first phase of work will focus on the removal of the existing concrete barrier between travel lanes, the grinding and paving of this area, and placement of a temporary guardrail, after which travel will switch toward the newly paved roadway closer to the center guardrail.

K-rail will then be placed near the shoulders of the roadway so that crews will be able to perform their work behind the protective concrete barrier. This first phase of the project is expected to last several weeks and regular updates will be provided.

A successful partnership between the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, various resource agencies, and Caltrans has been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. At the project location, 460 acres of mostly undeveloped land on both sides of the highway have been preserved in a conservation easement by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Owing to the relatively light human footprint in the area and the fact that the roadway is built over a large natural drainage, this location is ideal for construction of a wildlife undercrossing which will also enhance travel safety along the Highway 17 corridor.

The contractor for this $5.4 million project is Graniterock of San Jose, CA. This project is scheduled to conclude at the end of July 2022.