Transportation

Hwy 25 realignment project begins in March

Caltrans will repair an earlier attempt at reconstruction which resulted in the road’s collapse. 
The reroute not long after the collapse in 2016. Photo by John Chadwell.
The reroute not long after the collapse in 2016. Photo by John Chadwell.
The first curve realignment project in 2015 lasted barely three months before it caved in. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
The first curve realignment project in 2015 lasted barely three months before it caved in. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna

 

The Hwy 25 curve alignment project, located 32 miles south of Hollister, is set to begin construction in March and scheduled to end in July, according to Caltrans. In 2020 Caltrans announced the construction was scheduled to begin this month.

Kevin Drabinski, Caltrans Public Information Officer, told BenitoLink the project was awarded to Teichert Construction. 

In March 2018, about 25 South County residents gathered for a community input meeting hosted by former District 4 Supervisor Jim Gillio and Caltrans representatives at the Inn at Tres Pinos. Residents learned the proposed repairs had increased from $9.5 million to $11.3 million. Caltrans told BenitoLink the project’s construction cost alone is $5.4 million with the rest of the funds covering environmental and design work.

During the public speaking cards from the Council of San Benito Government Jan. 19 meeting, one resident shared her concerns about the project.

“The temporary solution was putting two flashing red light stop signs at each end from the hole in the middle and now you go around and you take the same way that you used to take forever and ever and ever,” she said. “So it’s all done. But now it’s going to cost $11 million to fix this. In my opinion, it’s a waste of money.”

The two-lane road will be realigned by Caltrans for the second time. Three months after completion of the first attempt, the design proved to be too severe and collapsed. Caltrans representatives admitted the collapse was the state agency’s fault because its engineers did not take deep enough core samples and assumed the hill was composed of similar rock as the nearby hills. Construction cost of the first project was $2.1 million.

The extreme angle of the cut through the hill was made because of Caltrans’ concerns for the California Tiger Salamander habitat, a grove of blue oaks, and a Native American site.

According to Caltrans, the second project includes additional tree planting to replace blue oaks that were removed during the 2015 project. 

The California Highway Patrol identified the area as a site of several deadly motorcycle collisions, thus the initial attempt in 2015 was to address safety concerns there. 

 

 

The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.

                    

Juliana Luna

Juliana Luna is Hollister born and raised. She recently graduated from San Benito High School, 2021. Currently attending Gavilan College where she plans to earn her Business Associate’s Degree to transfer to a four-year university. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Pinnacles National Park, and horse riding.