In an effort to eliminate congestion at the Highway 101-Highway 25 interchange, the Mobility Partnership of Santa Clara and San Benito counties selected a phase one preliminary design at its Sept. 11 meeting. The Mobility Partnership will seek funding for the project through the next phase of SB 1 funding.
The phase one design includes an additional overpass north of the existing one, and a longer exit ramp from southbound 101 that begins near Castro Valley Road. The design maintains the same merging ramp northbound from Highway 25 to Highway 101.
The “ultimate preliminary layout” of the interchange includes a two-lane on-ramp from southbound Highway 101 starting near Castro Valley Road; Highway 25 extension to Santa Teresa Boulevard; and a new Highway 25 off-ramp to northbound Highway 101. The existing overpass would be removed.
The estimated cost of the project has increased from $65 million to $100 million, according to a Mobility Partnership agenda packet.
San Benito County Supervisor and Mobility Partnership member Anthony Botelho said he opposed the design because it did not address motorists taking the Highway 25 on-ramp and crossing paths with those merging left onto southbound 101.
“I’m one of those guys that occasionally want to go south,” Botelho said, adding that he would have to wait “forever” to turn on southbound Highway 101 unless a car allows him to pass. Motorists wait for so long that eventually they “nudge” themselves through, which forces people to stop.
As part of eliminating congestion at the interchange, the Mobility Partnership will also look into intersection improvements at Highway 25 and Bolsa Road. Caltrans District 4 (Santa Clara County) is leading the project, according to the agenda packet.
Botelho said there are also discussions about putting traffic lights at the Highway 101-Highway 25 interchange and at the Highway 25-Bolsa Road intersection.
“Some of this stuff you have to take with a grain of salt, really,” Botelho said. “Because it’s just initial planning. They’re seeing what sticks to the wall.”
Hollister Mayor and Mobility Partnership member Ignacio Velazquez also warned against reading too much into the preliminary design, as Santa Clara County still needs to figure out how to solve a lot of the issues and are playing with ideas. He said one of the obstacles is that the property across from the Garlic Shoppe is a registered historical landmark that can’t be touched.
According to the phase one schedule, interchange construction will begin in November 2021, assuming funding is secured and the Highway 25-Bolsa intersection has been addressed.