Transportation

PG&E 95% done with utility relocation on Hwy 156

The project, which includes placing a new transmission pipeline, is part of the $106 million highway widening effort.

Since April, PG&E has been relocating utilities as part of the Caltrans Highway 156 widening project. The work, taking place along the highway, is likely to finish next month. 

“Approximately 95% of the project is completed and we expect to be done in early November,” PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado told BenitoLink. 

She said PG&E is installing 6,400 feet of new transmission pipeline. The project was divided into three parts:

  • Hwy. 156 and Mission Vineyard Road
  • Hwy. 156 and Bixby Road
  • Hwy. 156 and Union Road

“The utility relocation is due to the 156 widening project,” Tostado said. “Overhead and underground utilities require relocation outside of Caltrans right-of-way.”

The $105.9 million highway expansion project consists of constructing four new lanes on the five-mile stretch of Hwy. 156 between The Alameda in San Juan Bautista and Hollister. Caltrans estimates the new highway will save $34.6 million in accident and vehicle operating costs over 20 years; provide a $102.8 million return on investment in the same period; and reduce congestion by 1,902 hours daily and 694,257 hours annually. The project is funded through local traffic impact fees and the statewide transportation and improvement program (STIP). The project will leave the existing Hwy. 156 as a frontage road. 

Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.
Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.
Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.
Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.
Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.
Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.
Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.
Highway 156 widening project. Image courtesy of Caltrans.

She added that PG&E has experienced minimal project delays and does not anticipate any significant delays to affect the project’s schedule. 

“As soon as we’re out, Caltrans will come in to do their work,” Tostado said. 

PG&E crews are working Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Overnight work began on Oct. 1 and will continue through Oct. 14. 

 

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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.