Wider highway on the horizon

The end of the impenetrable wall of brake lights faced by many southbound drivers each morning near the U.S. Highway 101 Millbrae Avenue exit could be within sight, according to transit experts.

Construction is set to begin soon after the holiday season on two additional lanes for merging traffic on 101, one in each direction. The lanes will connect the entrance and exit ramps between Millbrae and Third Avenue in San Mateo, allowing drivers getting on and off the highway to merge more easily, Caltrans spokesman Jeff Weis said. “It will decrease travel times in that area, because merging is one of the biggest causes of congestion,” Weis said.

The auxiliary lanes, financed in part by a county transportation sales tax, are part of a series of such projects from the San Francisco border to Santa Clara County, some of which have already been completed. When finished, the lanes will save the average driver about 10 minutes between San Francisco International Airport and Santa Clara. The additional lanes will also slash accidents by 20 percent and cut greenhouse gases by 12 percent, according to Joe Hurley of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

“As a result of the auxiliary lanes, [drivers] are able to get to [their] destinations sooner, cheaper and safer,” Hurley said. San Francisco resident and San Mateo County Human Services Agency employee Jenny Loft appreciated the hope of an easier commute.

“Any assistance in decreasing congestion on 101 will be a relief,” said Loft, who commutes to Belmont daily.

The cost of the $90 million Millbrae to Third Avenue project has already risen 10 percent since February 2005 estimates, largely because of increasing energy and construction costs, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro. “Right-of-way costs have increased with real estate prices in recent years, and construction costs are up because of shortages of concrete and steel,” Navarro said. Work is slated to begin in February and wrap up in 2010, Navarro said.

The project will include new sound walls along the highway ranging from 12 to 16 feet, widening the Peninsula Avenue overpass in San Mateo and adding pedestrian and bicycle bridges at Monte Diablo in San Mateo and Broadway in Burlingame, officials said.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

There have been at least 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at San Francisco International Airport. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supes back SFO worker healthcare legislation despite airline, business opposition

Costs of ‘Health Airport Ordinance’ in dispute, with estimates ranging from $8.4 M to $163 M annually

Thankfully, playgrounds that were closed due to the pandemic during the summer have reopened.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
The perils of parenting, COVID-style

At long last, it’s OK to take your little one out to play

Ten candidates are running for a seat on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College District.. (Courtesy photos)
Strong leadership needed as City College faces multiple crises

Ten candidates vying for four seats on CCSF board

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Most Read