The widening of State Route 76 between South Mission Road and Interstate 15 reached a milestone the night of Aug. 24 and early morning of Aug. 25 when traffic between South Mission Road and Flowerwood Lane was switched over from the historical two lanes to two new lanes south of the older lanes.
“This was the big one,” said Caltrans project manager Karen Jewel. “Now all of the traffic is on new lanes.”
The original two lanes will, with some realignment, become the westbound lanes. The completion of the future eastbound lanes allows traffic to travel on that section while work on the westbound lanes is taking place.
“Right now it’s one lane in each direction on the eastbound lanes, which will become the eastbound lanes,” said Jewel. “They can now finish the lanes for westbound.”
Some of the work on the original lanes involves only re-striping or other minor details.
“The westbound lanes had some overlap with the existing alignment,” said Jewel.
That allows a quicker completion of the widening of the westbound portion.
“I would say by early October it will be two lanes westbound between Flowerwood and Mission,” said Jewel. “That’s the next switch that’s coming up. It’s a minor milestone, but it is a milestone.”
After the new westbound lanes are opened, drivers will utilize one of the eastbound lanes to allow for the final work on that portion.
“It will be three lanes,” said Jewel. “Then you probably won’t see a lot of changes in terms of traffic switching around until spring.”
The segment between Flowerwood Lane and Old Highway 395 will still be one lane in each direction until completion of new lanes on that segment can allow a switchover. Jewel expects four travel lanes to be open to the public by summer or early fall in 2017.
In addition to widening the highway from two lanes to four, the work includes improvements to the park-and-ride on the northwest corner of Highway 76 and Old Highway 395. The park-and-ride upgrade tasks include flattening the grade, adding truck parking and a bus terminal, lighting, and charging stations for electric vehicles.
“They are finishing the subgrade,” said Jewel. “The park-and-ride, they should be paving that in the next week or so.”
A two-week period to allow the pavement to bond will precede striping at the park-and-ride.