State Awards $589M in Roads Money

Written by Estero Bay News

February 10, 2022

The State has awarded over half a billion dollars in transportation funding and San Luis Obispo County will see a sizable chunk to address a dangerous stretch of Hwy 46.

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced Friday, Jan. 28 it was releasing $589 million “for projects to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state,” reads a news release. “Senate Bill 1 [SB 1], the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, accounts for $302 million — more than half of the funding.”

Among the projects getting funding is $136 million “to convert Highway 46 East to a four-lane expressway from west of the Shandon Roadside Rest Area to east of the Jack Ranch Café in San Luis Obispo County.”

Hwy 46 has long been known as “Blood Alley,” given its heavy traffic and stretches of 2-lane roadway, plus the infamous “Y” intersection where Hwys 46 and 41 diverge. From there, Hwy 46 heads towards Bakersfield and Hwy 41 towards Fresno.

Building an interchange system to replace the Y is another previously funded project.

The area in question here includes the Shandon Rest Stop and a cross-traffic, left turn, for vehicles heading west towards Paso Robles. 

The CTC also allocated $2.7 million “to install rock slope protection to prevent impacts to the bridge foundation of the Soquel Creek Bridge on Highway 1 in Capitola in Santa Cruz County.

“This investment follows our ‘fix-it-first’ commitment to repair California’s aging infrastructure,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said, “while at the same time increasing transit and active transportation options. These projects will make our transportation system safer and more convenient for all users and create thousands of good paying jobs in the process.”

Caltrans has also submitted a draft “2022 State Highway Operation and Protection Program” (SHOPP) funding. The SHOPP is “Aimed at preserving the condition of the highway system; the draft 2022 SHOPP accounts for $17.3 billion in funding over a four-year period and includes projects for safety, restoration, road and bridge preservation, and other highway-related facilities,” according to Caltrans.

That SHOPP money hasn’t officially been approved and the CTC is taking comment on it at a hearing in February, though no date has been set, with a final vote slated for March.

Among the list of projects under the SHOPP are some 24 in San Luis Obispo County. All the 2022 SHOPP projects are listed on the Caltrans’ Ten-Year Project Book website, see: ProjectBook.dot.ca.gov.

The 13-member CTC is responsible for programming and allocating funds for the construction of highway, passenger rail, transit and active transportation improvements throughout California, reads the CTC website. The Commission also advises and assists the Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency and the Legislature “in formulating and evaluating state policies and plans for California’s transportation programs.”

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