Highway 1 Improvement Project gets under way

Street widening, bike lanes, undergrounding for area already beset by traffic headaches

HALF MOON BAY — Officials broke ground Thursday on the long-awaited Highway 1 Improvement Project, but delays from the construction may cause some grumpiness among residents running on fumes after the recent closure of Devil’s Slide.

The $21.8 million, two-year project will ultimately improve traffic flow in and around the Highway 1 and state Route 92 intersection, often plagued by backups.

But the construction will take some getting used to because people are “tired of traffic,” said Charise McHugh, the Half Moon Bay-Coastside Chamber of Commerce president.

Tree-trimming on 92 has slowed traffic recently just as people were getting over the four-month Devil’s Slide closure, which forced nearly all commuter traffic for the area ontoHighway 92, she said.

“It’s sort of one traffic hazard after another,” McHugh said, noting that improved access to the coast will be good for residents and businesses. “It needs to be done and once it’s done it will be fabulous.”

The project will redesign 92’s intersections with Half Moon Bay’s Main Street and Highway 1 — intersections that are less than 250 yards apart — to improve flow and safety for cars, bikes and pedestrians.

Crews will widen 92 between Main Street and Highway 1 from two lanes to four lanes, and bike lanes and sidewalks will be constructed on northbound Main Street coming up to 92.

Overhead utilities will also be moved underground and more aesthetic street-lighting and landscaping will be installed.

Southbound Highway 1 commuters will get a second left-hand turn lane when turning onto 92, an intersection that needed help from Half Moon Bay police during the Devil’s Slide reconstruction to help alleviate traffic congestion.

Bill Carlson, the construction manager for Half Moon Bay, said crews would start in two to three weeks on the Main Street portion of the project to give Caltrans and PG&E crews time to finish the tree-trimming. Officials estimate the widening will be done by winter 2008.

Of the $21.8 million needed for the project, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority will contribute $12.6 million from Measure A funds, a 20-year half-cent sales tax that has brought in more than $138 million for city and county roads, and Half Moon Bay will pay $3.4 million.

dsmith@examiner.com

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