News Release: State releases funds for Highway 1 Morrissey/Soquel Auxiliary Lanes project

Sacramento, CA – The California Transportation Commission today released funding for voter-approved Proposition 1B bond projects, including the release of $16.19 million from the Proposition 1B Corridor Mobility Improvement Account (CMIA) to the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) for the local project on Highway 1 to add auxiliary lanes between Morrissey Boulevard and Soquel Drive.  i The California Transportation Commission also released $2.15 million in State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Proposition 1B bond funds for construction of the project.

This one-mile segment between Soquel Drive and Morrissey Boulevard has historically been the most heavily traveled section of Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County. “Auxiliary lanes” connect an on-ramp with the next off-ramp without making changes to the interchange, and improve safety by allowing an extended area for motorists changing lanes and merging onto and off of the highway. The project will also replace the La Fonda overcrossing to accommodate the additional highway lanes and provide bicycle and pedestrian improvements along La Fonda, Morrissey Boulevard and Rooney Street.

The RTC anticipates that the project will go out to bid this fall with construction to begin as early as February 2012.  The project is expected to run for 18-24 months, with removal and replacement of the La Fonda Avenue overcrossing scheduled for summer 2012 to coincide with summer break for area schools thereby minimizing construction impacts to neighborhoods, schools, and businesses in the surrounding area.

This is the first construction project in the county to be overseen by the RTC. The RTC’s decision to manage the construction process was a cooperative effort supported by Caltrans and designed to provide: direct local involvement in critical decisions regarding the project; a pro-active construction management approach; and community accountability and relations.

The RTC will manage the construction process with the assistance of a firm based in the Bay Area with extensive highway construction management experience, as well as experience with many road and bridge projects in the Santa Cruz area. Caltrans will monitor the construction process and ultimately approve the completed project as owners and operators of Highway 1.

RTC anticipates that by starting the project as soon as possible, the agency can take advantage of current lower construction costs and provide a small, but meaningful, stimulus to the local economy.

To date, the RTC has secured funding for three Highway 1 corridor projects: Mission Street, Highway 1/17 Interchange Merge Lanes, and the Morrissey/Soquel Auxiliary Lanes project.  As the most intensely used transportation corridor in the county, the RTC makes every effort to improve the corridor to accommodate current users as well as to encourage transit, carpools and vanpools on the highway, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities across the highway.

CONTACT: George Dondero, Executive Director – (831) 460-3200
Karena Pushnik, Senior Planner/Outreach Coordinator