Trucks on Highway 156. Photo by Noe Magaña.
Trucks on Highway 156. Photo by Noe Magaña.

Construction for the Highway 156 widening project is scheduled to begin in August, Caltrans Public Information Officer Kevin Drabinski told BenitoLink. He said PG&E has completed the rerouting of service lines along the road.

According to Drabinski, the delay was caused by the contractor having to substitute the subcontractor for electrical work and the storm water pollution prevention plan at the last moment.

Four corridor mapping plans were released by Caltrans, showing the layout for the San Benito Route 156 improvement project scheduled between The Alameda in San Juan Bautista and San Juan Hollister Road in Hollister.

Besides creating a five mile-long four-lane expressway between the two cities, it adds new roadway at the Mission Vineyard Road/156 intersection, a roundabout at the Bixby Road/156 intersection, and new roadway at the Union Road/156 intersection. 

The current Highway 156 roadway will be converted into a frontage road from south of Cagney Road to Union Road.

Caltrans also announced that the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Highways 25 and 156 will get underway on May 9 after two previous start dates were pushed back. The announcement came three days after it said construction was scheduled to begin April 18.

The roundabout is the first of five projects intended to reduce traffic and accidents by addressing critical trouble spots and widening roadways.

The delays in the construction of the roundabout were at the request of GraniteRock, which was awarded the contract for the work, Drabinski said.

“They asked for a work suspension, as they did not want to open up construction at wintertime,” he said. “This is very typical with projects like this one.”

Drabinski said that once work on the roundabout begins, traffic will be slowed to 35 mph in the construction zone. The report on the construction stages and traffic routing was presented to the Council of San Benito Governments at their Feb. 17 meeting.

The roundabout is a temporary solution which aims to reduce the number and severity of collisions at the intersection from broadside and rear-end collisions that occur when drivers run red lights. According to Project Manager Aaron Henkel, a proposal to place an interchange at the site will not be finalized until at least 2028.


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