Caltrans announced the recently installed signal system at the intersection of Highways 25 and 156 has been adjusted to permit protected left-hand turns from Hwy. 25. All four approaches to the intersection have a green arrow for travelers to make a protected left turn.
The news release also said all approaches to the roundabout construction area will also have a left-turn pocket from which to turn that will remain in place throughout the next several months of construction.
BenitoLink asked Caltrans if the new signal system is to address vehicle accidents at the intersection. Caltrans public information officer said, “We are always looking to enhance safety in work zones and this change is not directly in response to recent traffic incidents in the area.”
Part of the roundabout construction phase is to install concrete barriers to reduce to a single lane all four approaches to the intersection, but weather has delayed that phase, Caltrans said.
“Installation of the K-rail is now scheduled to take place early next week,” according to the release. “Installation of the K-rail will be preceded by overnight closures for two nights and dates and times will be announced in an update provided next week.”
It added that once the K-rail is in place, and all four approaches are reduced to a single lane, travelers can expect significant delays on their commute through the construction zone.
Speed limits throughout the construction zone are set to be reduced to 35 mph. The speed limits will apply to all the approaches to the intersection of the two highways and is necessary to provide for the safety of construction crews and travelers.
“As the roundabout construction enters its next phase, travelers are reminded to reduce their speed and drive with extra caution,” the release said. “Changes in the speed limit through the construction zone, installation of a new temporary signal system, and winter-like road conditions, make it more important than ever to be prudent and sensible behind the wheel in this area.”
Caltrans former project manager Brandy Rider told BenitoLink on August 2021 that the roundabout planned at that intersection will be the first of its kind in California. The design known as a turbo roundabout is 240 feet in diameter, includes raised dividers to keep motorists from changing lanes, and uses overhead and road markings for navigation.
According to Caltrans, the purpose of this roundabout project is to reduce the severity of collisions and fatalities at this intersection.
The contractor for this $10.7 million construction project is Graniterock of San Jose and the project is scheduled to be completed in the Fall of 2023.
Since 2011, Caltrans has implemented several small projects that modified the existing signal at this intersection, including adjusting the signal timing, installing “signal ahead” signs, installing flashing beacons, and upgrading the size of the signal heads.
An interchange at the highway 25/156 intersection is the long-range improvement planned as part of the larger SR 25 Expressway Conversion Project which is funded by Measure G, a San Benito County voter-approved additional 1% sales tax.
The roundabout is a two-lane design and anticipates truck volumes for the intersection today and into the future. In accommodating the sweep of truck trailer wheels, a mountable truck apron is featured around the inside of the roundabout.
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